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Curriculet Details
71 Questions
75 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in sixth grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining conflict, character motivation and author background. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about figurative language and different versions of the text. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of characterization, plot, and word choice. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter One

As you begin reading, it might help you understand the novel to know more about the author, Carl Hiaasen. Follow the link below to read more about this writer. As you proceed through the novel, keep in mind how you see elements of Hiaasen's life being integrated into the story. (This annotation contains a link)
Based on his behavior, we can conclude that Dana is 
Pictured below is the nest of a Florida burrowing owl. The owl is classified as a "species of special concern" by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This means burrows, owls, and their eggs are protected from harassment and/or disturbance by state law.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why would Curly scowl at being labeled a "foreman" instead of a "supervising engineer"? 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Watch the video below to learn about the definition and impact of setting on a story. Notice the clues we're given about the setting of this novel. Pay attention for other hints about time and place. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Roy's preoccupation with the running boy tell us about him? 

Chapter Two

The highlighted phrase is an example of a type of figurative language called "personification." Watch the video below to learn more. What human quality is being given to the brakes of the bus? (This annotation contains a video)
Which definition of "fairway" best fits the context of the highlighted sentence? 
Below is an image of the town of Bozeman and the surrounding landscape. How is it different from Florida? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Miss Hennepin probably see that causes her eyes to narrow and lips to purse in consternation? 
Why do you think this girl is confronting Roy? What does she want from him? 

Chapter Three

Notice how we've shifted to another story line told through a different character. Pay attention to how the author weaves together Roy's and Officer Delinko's experiences. 
Why would Curly say that the sides of the tires had been slashed when there were no marks? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a type of figurative language called a "simile." Watch the video below to learn more about similes and metaphors. As you read, notice when the author uses these figurative expressions to add life to the story. (This annotation contains a video)
Why would Mr. Eberhardt be looking at Roy with pride at this point? 
Do you think Roy should have shown his parents the bruises or not? 
Why does Roy's father say his tone in the letter is "exactly right"? 
Watch the video below to learn what tone is in a piece of writing. What is Roy's tone in his letter to Dana?  (This annotation contains a video)
Notice how the conflict between the mysterious vandals and Mother Paula's Pancake House is beginning. The police are developing theories about what would motivate someone to hurt Mother Paula's. Which theory do you think is right so far? 

Chapter Four

Dana being absent from school serves to increase the tension between him and Roy, one of the main _______ in the novel. 
Knowing how the story about Roy and Dana got retold at school, how much truth do you think there is in this story about Beatrice and the linebacker? 
Here we are again following Officer Delinko's story line. Although we're alternating between him and Roy, the point of view of the story remains the same. Watch the video below to learn more about point of view. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the significance of the paint being dry? 
Would a student in your school be able to sneak into the office and find this private information so easily? 
What does Dana's mother's reaction tell us about her? 

Chapter Five

Which of the following definitions best fits the highlighted word in this context? 
The image below is of a cottonmouth moccasin. Note the shiny triangular head and dingy coloring. It is called "cottonmouth" because when threatened, this species will often stand its ground and gape at an intruder, exposing the white lining of its mouth. (This annotation contains an image)
For more information about how to survive a grizzly bear attack, follow the link below. Of course, you'd be better off avoiding the bear in the first place. (This annotation contains a link)
The highlighted phrase is an example of what type of figurative language? 
Who do you think this boy is, and why would he have a bag of poisonous snakes? How might this connect with Officer Delinko's story? 

Chapter Six

Who was the officer inside the car? 
Here's another clue about the setting. Now we know this is a modern-day story. 
What does it mean for a police officer to be put on "desk duty"? 
Why is this man so upset that Roy stopped outside the construction area? 
Below is a topographical map of the United States. You can see the heightened rugged elevations all through the western half of the country in stark contrast to the flat, all-green protuberance of Florida. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Seven

Note the common, every-day details the author includes to create Roy's voice. He sounds like a typical middle-schooler. 
Roy wants to give Mullet Fingers a pair of shoes. What does that tell you about his personality? 
Did you see that twist coming? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a literary technique called "foreshadowing." Watch the video to learn more. What might this particular clue be leading up to? (This annotation contains a video)
Now we can see the other side of Roy's story. His parents called the police because he's been gone so long. 
Notice how the two separate plot lines have now come together with Roy meeting Officer Delinko. 
It's over 700 miles from Mobile, Alabama, to the area of Florida where this story is set. What does it tell you about Mullet Fingers that he was able to make his way home on his own? 
What type of figurative language has the author used to show us this unique trait of Beatrice's? 
Why would Officer Delinko want Roy's father to write a note to the police chief? Is there something more to it than Delinko just wanting a record of his good deed? We don't really know much about what Roy's father does for a living. 
Part One 

Chapter Eight

How does Roy face the challenges in his life? 
Can you hear a sarcastic tone as the author talks about Mother Paula's concern for its brand name? 
It is sometimes helpful to read aloud passages that are written with an accent. It is easier to make out what is being said when you can hear the words. 
What is Curly supposed to do if something happens while the dogs are there? 
Ospreys, pictured below, are another federally protected bird. Because they nest in areas that can be dangerous to the birds or humans, permits can be granted to move the nest. In that case, a new, safe nesting structure has to be built close to the old, dangerous one. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the author use the word "obligated" in the highlighted sentence? 
Do you think Beatrice knew what was going on and sat next to Dana on purpose? 

Chapter Nine

What does the highlighted expression mean? 
This is an important idea in this story. As you read, make note of situations in which Roy tries to stand up for what he thinks is right. 
The highlighted phrase is an example of which literary technique? 
Where did we see snakes with sparkly tails earlier in the story? 
Which of the phrases from the highlighted section is a simile? 
Which of the phrases from the highlighted section is a simile? 

Chapter Ten

What do you think will happen once Dana is free? 
Why would Mrs. Eberhardt be so happy to see Roy with a friend? 
Notice how much we learn about Beatrice's family in the next few paragraphs. It will explain why Mullet Fingers lives on his own. 
What kind of person is Lonna? Provide two details to support your answer. 
Can you put the clues together and figure out where Mullet Fingers was when he got bit? 
Who was responsible for painting the police car, putting alligators in the toilets, and releasing snakes into the construction site? 
This is an important revelation. All this time, it's been Mullet Fingers trying to protect the habitat of the burrowing owls. 

Chapter Eleven

What was really going on with the guard dogs? 
From where might this fabric have come? 
What word in the highlighted text emphasizes the danger of the cottonmouth snakes? 
Here we get another clue about what Mr. Eberhardt does for a living. 
Because of the _____________ of the story, the reader can see the internal reaction of Mrs. Eberhardt when she sees the bike in the trunk. 
Notice how the author ends the chapter with this exciting bit of news. It's called a "cliffhanger" because the reader is unsure what will happen next. This motivates a reader to keep reading. 

Chapter Twelve

Roy's behavior here is an example of an idea that is central to this novel. Which of the following statements best captures that idea? 
We can tell that Dr. Gonzalez does not believe what Beatrice and Roy are telling her about how Mullet Fingers got injured. 
Why does no one answer the phone at Roy's house? 
What does the highlighted simile mean? 
Remember that Beatrice told the doctor that "Roy's" parents were unreachable because they were out on a boat catching crabs. 
Why is Officer Delinko pleased that Roy isn't wearing a green T-shirt? 

Chapter Thirteen

It's interesting that Roy's father is sitting behind a desk to have an important conversation with his son. Separating himself like that instead of sitting side by side seems rather formal. Perhaps this is how he interrogates people at his job. 
What type of figurative language does the author use to describe the insects? 
The image below is of a Great Horned Owl. It doesn't actually have horns, just tufts of feathers on its head that resemble horns. It can rotate its head 270 degrees and has some of the sharpest eyesight of any animal. (This annotation contains an image)
Roy is very considerate of his parents' feelings. Is that typical for a teenage boy? 
Why would Mrs. Eberhardt be especially shocked and angered to learn that Mullet Fingers wasn't wanted by his mother? 

Chapter Fourteen

Note that the cars seem to represent their owners--the dented old Suburban for the old basketball player and the shiny new convertible for the flashy new wife. 
How does Mr. Matherson not match Roy's expectations? 
Why do you think Dana won't leave Roy alone, even after everything that's happened to him? 
Below is a trailer for the movie based on this novel. Watch it and then answer the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the movie match your vision of the characters and events in the story? Were you surprised by anything? 
Notice how the font changes to indicate that we're now reading the text of the letter. 
How are Mullet Fingers's skills different from those other kids would learn in school? 
It is important to note that much of what Roy loved about Montana was its wilderness, and he's finally seeing glimpses of the natural beauty that Florida has to offer. 
Part Two 

Chapter Fifteen

"A late tee time" means that Roy's father is golfing. 
What type of figurative language is used to describe Dana? 
Notice how Roy is cleverly playing on Dana's weakness to manipulate him. 
The Seminole tribe is native to Florida. They were originally Creek, but broke off to establish their own identity. The word Seminole is a corruption of cimarrĂ³n, a Spanish term for "runaway" or "wild one." 
How does Roy get Dana to break into the construction site? 
The word "snap" is an example of an onomatopoeia. Watch the video below to learn more about this type of language. As you read, make note of when the author uses onomatopoeia to paint a picture in the reader's mind. (This annotation contains a video)
There's a certain sense of justice that Curly tripped on an owl hole when he's trying to do everything he can to bulldoze their nests. 
Which of the following words from the highlighted text is an onomatopoeia? 
How do you think Officer Delinko will react when Dana denies having anything to do with the vandalism at the construction site? 

Chapter Sixteen

List four words or phrases from Garrett's conversation with Roy that sound like things an average teenage boy would say. 
To whom does the footprint most likely belong? 
The image below shows an airboat tour like the one Roy takes. Notice that the passengers are all wearing blue earphones to protect their hearing. (This annotation contains an image)
What was Garrett's "inside source"? 
How would you react if you heard a random voice calling you from under your bed in the middle of the night? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a(n) 
Roy's behavior with Beatrice shows that he is 
How do we know that Beatrice appreciates Roy's help? 

Chapter Seventeen

Remember how much trouble Curly was in for the bad publicity Mother Paula's got after Officer Delinko's windows were painted? 
Why is Chuck Muckle so insistent that the owl burrows are abandoned, when Curly knows they aren't? 
Below you can see a size comparison between a rat trap (top) and a mouse trap (bottom). A rat trap is two to three times larger than a mouse trap, which is about the size of a deck of playing cards. (This annotation contains an image)
Roy is worried that what might have happened to Beatrice? 
IHOP stands for International House of Pancakes. (This annotation contains an image)
The captain doesn't sound entirely convinced that Dana is the vandal, so why would he make Dana the official perpetrator? 
Does it sound like Dana is concerned with being held in juvenile detention? 
Why would Roy want to see the building and zoning file for Mother Paula's? 
Why does Curly tell Roy that there are no owls inside the fence, just wild chickens? 

Chapter Eighteen

Note that the conflict between the kids and Mother Paula's is getting more and more intense. What next step might the three teenagers take to prevent the owl habitat from being bulldozed? 
Dreaming about advancing his career shows us that Officer Delinko is 
This is an important realization for Officer Delinko. Do you think it will cause him to change his behavior at all? 
What phrase does the author use to show how upset Roy is at the Mother Paula's ad? 
Now we know more detail about why Beatrice needed to stay overnight at Roy's. 
Roy planning to join Mullet Fingers is an example of which central idea? 
To "smell a rat" means that a person does not believe the truth is being told, that she or he somehow is being tricked. 
Why is it significant that the permit file is missing from City Hall? 
In the next few pages, notice how Roy carefully builds his case to his classmates about saving the owls.  
What type of figurative language does the author use to describe the feeling in Roy's throat and the silence in the classroom? 

Chapter Nineteen

What do you think those flashes are? 
For what do Roy and Beatrice need notes? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of what type of figurative language? 
Why are there so many crickets at the site all of a sudden? 

Chapter Twenty

The silence of the students in response to Mr. Muckle is an example of the story's 
As Roy's protest gets started, read the following article about a current environmental protest held in Washington, D. C., in response to a proposed oil pipeline. Be prepared to explain similarities and differences between Roy's protest and the pipeline protest. (This annotation contains a link)
What was the "heat lightning" that Officer Delinko saw the night before? 
Will Mullet Fingers's unorthodox protest method work? 
How do we know that Mr. Muckle is used to having people follow his commands? 
Did Officer Delinko really not notice that the snakes were fake? Why would he lie to Mr. Muckle? 
What similarities and differences can you identify between Roy's protest and the oil pipeline protest? 

Chapter Twenty-One

We finally learn Mullet Fingers's real name. 
How do we know that Mrs. Eberhardt is proud of Roy? 
What a twist! Did you suspect that Mr. Eberhardt had the missing file? 
The highlighted phrase means that the reporter looks 


The National Audubon Society's mission is "to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity." If you are interested in learning more about the group, visit the website below. (This annotation contains a link)
What is the meaning of the word "crock" in the highlighted sentence? 
Is it fair that the police only focus on catching Dana and not Mullet Fingers? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of what type of figurative language? 
Part Three 
If you liked this story, try Carl Hiaasen's book "Flush," which is also about kids taking a stand for what they believe is right.