H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) is a top-secret school of applied villainy where children with a precocious gift for wrongdoing are sent to develop their talents into criminal masterminds. After all, ‘villains have the best lines and wear the best costumes’. One small catch is that the children cannot leave until training is complete, six years later. With villainy comes a certain freedom of thought, and every year one student in particular will show exceptional talent – after all, it takes the best to produce the worst. This year there are two students: Otto Malpense and his new friend Wing Fanchu are both exceptionally bad, and they are definitely not keen on being held against their will for six long years…
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Create a character profile for a new pupil arriving at HIVE.
- Create a set of rules for a class at HIVE.
- Write a story from the point of view of another new pupil arriving at the school.
- The story begins with Otto waking up and having no idea how he got where he is. Use this idea to start a new story of your own.
- Learn about the author on his website. Use the information there to write a biography about him.
- When the children first arrive at HIVE, Dr Nero uses the following words to describe them… cunning, mischievous, villainous, undesirable, wickedness. Can you find synonyms for these words? Can you find antonyms?
- The pupils are given a tour of their new school when they arrive. Could you plan a tour of your school for somebody who is new?
- Dr Nero might have written a private letter to the parents of each pupil, inviting them to send the children to HIVE. What might this letter say?
- In Chapter 4, Otto finds some textbooks that are in use at the school. What might be included in some of these textbooks? Could you write one of the pages? Can you think of another appropriate title for a book in use at HIVE?
- Otto’s first lesson was ‘Villainy Studies’. What might this lesson involve? What would be the children’s learning objective? What activities might they try?
- In Chapter 11, Otto reads a biography of Diabolus Darkdoom. Write a biography of somebody who has attended the school in the past… or one of the staff who teaches there in this book.
- Watch this video report from Mark Walden about his books:
- Plan a new timetable for the pupils in each group, showing the range of activities that they might take part in at HIVE.
- Find out more about the characters, books and the author on the Hive Hub site.
- Watch this trailer for the books / Hive Hub site. Could you make your own video trailer?
- In Chapter 11, the children have to decide whether or not to use an EMP device to ‘terminate’ HIVE.mind. Find out about Artificial Intelligence and how it is used in the world at present.
- Design new gadgets / technology that might be in use by staff and pupils at HIVE, e.g. Blackbox, grappler unit.
- Design and model a copy of the Blackbox that the students are used to communicate with HIVE mind.
- Design a new uniform for the pupils in each stream at HIVE.
- Draw an illustration of what HIVE.mind might look like.
- Draw a map of HIVE / The Island, showing the different features and parts described in the book (there is a short list at the start of Chapter 3 when Otto walks around and observes the signs).
- Plan the layout of the accommodation areas in HIVE, including the cells and recreation facilities.
- The food in the dining hall comes from lots of different countries and cultures. Find out about where food comes from. Where do the items in your packed lunch come from? Where was your favourite dinner originally made?
- Design the assault course that is mentioned at the start of Chapter 4.
- The school motto is ‘Do Unto Others’. What does this mean?
- Each of the students at the school has their own special talents and abilities. What are your talents? Which of your own abilities would you like to improve?