Dark Life Activities

Dark Life

by Kat Falls

Set in a future where sea levels have risen and the remaining land is given over to packed high rise cities. Food is produced by those who live on and farm the ocean floor. Ty, who was born and raised deep undersea, meets Gemma, a ―topsider‖ looking for her brother. Together they end up in an adventure that includes pirates, strange talents and government conspiracies!

Author on the Internet



Item: Snorkeling Equipment – flippers, mask, breathing tube Aquarium – live fish Toy or model submarines


Two teens – two friends – from two different worlds. Gemma, a girl born on land, discovers adventure, mystery, and friendship beneath the waves, away from the sun, in an alien world known as the ―Dark Life.‖


Sushi, seafood salad, seaweed salad, milk, eggs, a variety of fish.

Figurative Language


Around us, the hull moaned and creaked.

The icy glare she shot me could have restored the glaciers.

An enormous glowing ball appeared in the murky water ahead of us.

An island of light in the cobalt sea.

Gemma‘s words cut out as I dove under the water, back into the sea‘s cool embrace.

His ego was a flying fish cresting waves, I noted enviously.

‘Can‘t switch horses midstream,‘ the representatives said with every cancelled election.


As soon as the flare died, the sharks would be on me like suckerfish on a whale.

Like a dilating eye, the hatch opened and seawater filled the small chamber.

One bunch swayed like seaweed, telling me that someone had just passed.

Then that squid will pluck you out like it‘s shucking a clam.

As we got up together, she gripped my hand like a moray eel chomping prey

I shrugged, though my insides whirled like a comb jelly.

I turned to defend myself, but Gemma‘s gaze was as bright and intense as the flare I‘d fired

at the green lantern sharks.

Like the spokes of a wheel, the slender bridges all led to the tower platform, suspended in

the center.

Benton Tupper, the settlement‘s Commonwealth of States representative, stood on the dais,

looking like an overgrown baby with his wispy hair and plump cheeks.

He ran a hand through his hair, leaving it spiked up like the prickles on a blowfish.

Idioms and Expressions

Gem o‘ the ocean.


Challenging Words

Radiant (p. 1 HB)

Torpedoes (p. 3 HB)

Bioluminescent (p. 7 HB)

Taut (p. 17 HB)

Hydrothermal (p. 22 HB)

Titanium (p. 39 HB)

Geyser  (p. 52 HB)

Writhing (p. 63 HB)

Fathom (p. 71 HB)

Acrylic (p. 82 HB)

Smidge (p. 95 HB)

Hapharzardly  (p. 115 HB)

Derelict (p. 115 HB)

Biosonar (p. 171 HB)

Misrepresentation (p. 185 HB)

Infirmary (p. 187 HB)

Epitomized (p. 205 HB)

Coaxed (p. 224 HB)

Albino  (p. 248 HB)

Catwalk (p. 265 HB)

Curriculum Connections

Physical Education

Related benchmarks: PE.7.C.1.6

Think about how people who live underwater move when they go about their daily lives and travel through the water. Create a sport that uses these movements that a community could play on the ocean floor. Remember to take into account: ocean currents, local wildlife, natural formations, survival needs. Your sport should have: a name, rules, goals, team specifications, proper equipment, scoring procedure, time limits, uniforms.

Fine Arts

Related benchmarks: VA.68.F.1.3

Study the technology that is used in Dark Life. What new types of artistic expressions

could be developed using the fictional technology OR could be influenced by the fictional technology?

Foreign Languages

People usually develop their own language-dialect when they break away from the original group. Create a basic language that the people in the Dark Life might use in the future. Come up with 10 nouns, 10 verbs, 10 adjectives with a pronunciation key.

Language Arts

Related benchmarks: LA.7.2.1

Compare and Contrast the two main characters, Gemma and Ty. How are these two teens alike and how are they different? Are their similarities and differences consequences of their two environments (Topside & Dark Life). Give support for your argument from the text.


Related benchmarks: MA.7.S.6.1

List the given traits of Ty and the others who live on the ocean floor. Is it reasonable to applythose traits to everyone who lives under the water? Why or why not?


Related benchmarks: SC.7.E.6

Review the information in the story that explains the how and why much of the Earth‘spopulation migrated to the ocean floor. Is the explanation scientific? Could this actually happen to us?   Study the devices described in the book that allow humans to live on the ocean floor. Think about what humans need to survive. Could people actually live permanently underwater using devices similar to the ones described in the book? What other devices would people need?

Social Studies/Geography

Related benchmarks:


Discuss the problems the ocean dwellers are experiencing from the established government. Write a constitution that protects the rights of all people, both on land and on the ocean floor.


Explain how the decrease in land and increase in bodies of water impacted the development of the 2 main civilizations in the book.

created by SSYRA  – Activities and Resource page


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