Mr. Chalk’s Students Recreate ‘1984’ Style Interrogation

By Joanne Liu, Yearbooker

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  • Mr. Chalk points a flashlight at a student. The students who got the flashlight pointed at them were responsible for asking questions.

  • Vincent Austin '21, Seth Thomas '21, and Isaac Fowler '20 attempt to answer a question asked by a classmate. They were very quick to respond to all the questions.

  • Emily Peng '20, Anurima Mummaneni '20, and Emma Goolsbey '20 prepare to answer questions with their pool noodles. They ended up getting almost all of the questions correct.

  • Mr. Chalk and his class participate in a review game before their test. In the game, students had to hit their foreheads with pool noodles in order to answer a question.

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As a fun and unique way to review for a test, Mr. Chalk’s AP TAG English class interrogated each other on their knowledge of the book 1984 by George Orwell. The review activity, called “Room 101”, was setup to mirror a similar scene in the book where the main character was interrogated.

“The activity was helpful because the students actually came up with the questions themselves,” Adora Wu ‘21 said. “It refreshes the minor details that we may have forgotten, but other people might have remembered.” 

Three people volunteered to stand in the front to form a panel while the rest of the class interrogated them. The panel stood in front of the projector, with the light flashing in their face to look like they were put under the spotlight, similar to an actual interrogation room. To answer a question, someone in the panel had to hit themselves with a pool noodle. 

“Being up there is more fun and it’s like a sport, so we want to be quick and we let our minds react as quickly as possible,” Vincent Austin ‘21 said. 

In the dark setting with all the lights turned off, Mr. Chalk randomly chose students who were sitting down and pointed the flashlight at their face to let them ask their question. The whole process was speedy, with students asking and answering the questions quickly, so everyone in the room had a chance to ask at least one question. 

“It was really stressful because you didn’t know when you would be randomly get hit in the face with the flashlight to ask a question,” Arti Madan ‘21 said. 

Every student had to prepare five questions and the only restrictions for the questions were that they had to be about the book or the 1980s. Overall, there was a wide variety of questions the students interrogated the panel with.

“It was also overwhelming to stand up there with the bright light [from the projector] on your face and you have no idea what people are going to ask you,” Madan said. “The questions were really random and ranged from knowing the title of the first song of a band that was active during that time, to identifying the context of a random quote from the book.”

The whole activity lasted around 15 minutes, consisting of three rounds, each with different panels of volunteers. Afterwards, the students immediately took their test over the book.

“It was definitely a fresh, unique way of reviewing for a test that I’ve never experienced before. The uniqueness made it more engaging and helped me memorize the material better,” Benji Truong ‘21 said.