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Curriculet Details
81 Questions
93 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for middle school students contains interactive videos exploring similes and metaphors and foreshadowing, as well as annotations describing types of characterization, pictures of wildlife discussed in the text, and allusions. Students will explore the themes of environmental responsibility and hope. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Chapter One

Watch this short video explaining the differences between similes and metaphors. As you begin reading, keep an eye out for these and other types of figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What caused Mrs. Starch to assign an extra essay assignment to Marta? 
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? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
What does Mrs. Starch mean when she says, "You had everybody in stitches just a moment ago"? 
The highlighted sentence reveals what a precarious position Mrs. Starch has put Nick into. Which route would you advise him to take in this situation? What does this scene reveal about Mrs. Starch? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What does Smoke do that is shocking? 

Chapter Two

Watch the short video on foreshadowing. What might the author be foreshadowing when Kyle mentions the dry conditions? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Why does Nick's mom recognize Duane's last name? 
The picture below explains direct and indirect characterization. Familiarize yourself with the different ways in which an author can create indirect characterization. Be prepared to encounter questions on these methods as you continue reading.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Which type of indirect characterization is primarily used in the highlighted text to reveal Dr. Dressler's fear? 
Below is a picture of a macaw parrot like Nadine. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Three

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What can you infer about how Nick is feeling based on his actions in the highlighted text? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
The highlighted text is primarily an example of which type of literary device? 
Based on the hybrid car she drives and the bumper sticker on the car (a manatee is pictured below to help you visualize this endangered mammal), we can infer that Mrs. Starch cares about the environment. Someone who wants to protect wildlife and the environment is often referred to as a conservationist. As you continue to read, pay attention to clues about the author's position on environmental issues.  (This annotation contains an image)
Below is a picture of a Florida swamp much like what the students will encounter on this field trip.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
The highlighted text is an example of which type of figurative language? 
Below is a picture of a cottonmouth or water moccasin snake. Thankfully, Graham does not really see one of these poisonous snakes! (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What type of characterization is used in the highlighted text to reveal Mr. Neal's fear? 
The author does a great job of building our suspense with his last line. It leaves us wondering what is going to happen.  

Chapter Four

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What does the highlighted text reveal through indirect characterization about Nick? Choose one word to describe him and explain in your own words why you chose that character trait.  
Watch the short video on textual evidence and inferences.  (This annotation contains a video)
Below is a map of the country of Brazil. Did Mrs. Starch's husband move to another country because of his wife's "peculiar" habits? Whether that is true or not, it adds to her mysterious reputation.  (This annotation contains an image)
Use the definitions below to review common types of figurative language used by authors to create imagery.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Why was Mrs. Starch left alone in the Black Vine Swamp? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Which piece of textual evidence supports the idea that Sam is "mellow"? 
Below is a picture of a girl using an asthma inhaler. Libby's father recognizes the inhaler because it has his daughter's initials on it. However, what is unusual was how did the dog get it? Who brought it? This new development creates more tension.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Five

Below is a picture of the 33rd President. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What can you infer about Nick and Marta based on their actions in the highlighted text? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted sentence to convey the pervasive stir that Dr. Dressler's announcement causes? 
The use of the alliteration or repetition of the "D" sound in "Droppy Dressler," as well as the connotation associated with the word droopy, insinuates that students think of Dr. Dressler as boring, cheerless, or downcast.  
Think back to a previous annotation that asked to you to pay attention to what the dry weather conditions may be foreshadowing. We now see that the conditions were favorable for someone starting a fire.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
The police officer seems to be insinuating that ____________ started the fire. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Who does the police officer seem to be insinuating started the fire? 

Chapter Six

As a review, onomatopoeia is a word that imitates a natural sound. Words like "bang" and "boom" are examples, but so are words like "buzzed" and "hissed." 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Which type of figurative language used in the highlighted sentence appeals to a reader's sense of sound? 
The preservation of dead animals is called taxidermy. This process entails preparing and preserving the skins of animals, stuffing them, and sometimes mounting them in life-like positions. Below is a picture from a taxidermy workshop of animals which have been preserved like Mrs. Starch's rat. It is unusual though that Mrs. Starch has chosen to preserve a rat which sits on her front porch. Read on to find out what is even more unusual about this particular rat.  (This annotation contains an image)
Below is a picture of a sailfish. As you continue to read, look for textual evidence that helps you to develop a better understanding of Nick's father. What impact does he have on his son? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Why does Nick walk to the store with Marta? 
Watch the short video on tone and mood in literature.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Seven

Below is a map of Florida. Locate Naples below. This is the area in which much of the story is taking place.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
Which word does not accurately describe the tone conveyed in the highlighted dialogue? 
Duane Scrod Sr.'s action of nodding "bleakly" combined with his words suggest that he feels defeated by life.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What happened to Nick's father in Iraq? 
It is interesting that the stuffed rat is gone. This would suggest that someone else has been to Mrs. Starch's house and removed it. Are they trying to spook Dr. Dressler out or make him look crazy? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
Summarize the key events that have happened so far in this novel in your own words.  

Chapter Eight

Notice this company's name. Where was there a mention of red diamonds earlier in the book? Pay attention and look for connections as you continue to read. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Who or what are the men after? 
Denotation is the dictionary definition of a word. On the other hand, connotation refers to an idea, image, or feeling that a word brings to mind in addition to its definition. For example, the connotation associated with snakes is that they are often seen as sneaky and sinister. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Which detail would be least likely to contribute to Mr. Waxmo's reputation as a weird substitute? 
Below is a map of the Roman Empire at its height. How is Dr. Waxmo different from Mrs. Starch? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Which perfectly groomed student suddenly makes a surprising appearance in class? 

Chapter Nine

Watch the short video on internal versus external conflict. In addition, you may see the types of conflict broken down as character versus self (internal), character versus character (external), character versus society (external), and character versus nature (external). What types of conflict have already occurred within this novel? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Overall, which word best characterizes Dr. Dressler's feelings towards Duane? 
Below is a picture of Marco Island, where Duane indicates he was fishing during the class field trip. (This annotation contains an image)
Watch this inspirational video about author, athlete, and motivational speaker, Kyle Maynard. Expect to encounter a question about how Maynard's message could apply to Nick and his father's situation.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
Which quality is shared by Kyle Maynard and Nick as he attempts to walk in his father's shoes? 
An allusion in literature is an indirect reference to a person, place, thing, or idea that has cultural, historical, literary, or political significance. Here, we recognize that the reference or allusion to Hogwarts is from the Harry Potter series.  
Nick refers here to a "red herring" when a false clue is given in a piece of literature to mislead characters and readers. This literary device employed most often in mystery stories. The thought bubble in the picture below gives a "red herring's" purpose. (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz One (Chapters One Through Nine) 

Chapter Ten

Below is a picture of bubble wrap to help you visualize what the young man is wrapped in. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Why do the men agree here in the swamp that they cannot report this crime to the police? 
Below is a picture of a shrimp cocktail. This dish would be readily available due to the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What does Duane Scrod Jr. suddenly express an interest in studying? 
It appears that Nick and Marta's sense of curiosity and belief that something is not adding up is about to turn them into sleuths or detectives.  
Notice how the dark, isolated setting helps to create a creepy, sinister tone. The "invisible critters" watching and the coachwhip snake (like the one pictured below) just add to the eerie feel. What other details contribute to this tone? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What literary device is used in the highlighted dialogue? 

Chapter Eleven

An idiom is an expression that means something very different from the words used. An example of this is "it is raining cats and dogs." This expression has nothing to do with animals; it means that it is raining very hard. What other idioms can you think of? 
Based on how Marta is holding Nick's hand, you can infer that the phrase "totally sketched out" means the same thing as freaked out or scared.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
The phrase "losing her marbles"  means Mrs. Starch is going crazy. What type of figurative language is it? 
Below is picture of this endangered mouse. (This annotation contains an image)
The author uses personification here. Time is not alive, so it can't "stop dead." The use of the personification adds drama and suspense.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Who discovers Nick and Marta? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Who discovers Nick and Marta hiding in Mrs. Starch's house? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Who discovers Nick and Marta hiding in Mrs. Starch's house? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Who discovers Marta and Nick hiding in the chest? 
Watch the short booktalk on "Scat" and listen to a section from this scene read aloud. Expect to encounter a question comparing this film interpretation to the text. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.7
Which visual in the filmed book talk of "Scat" is not consistent with the original description of the setting and plot provided within the novel? 

Chapter Twelve

Notice that the highlighted text helps to create a humorous tone. As a reminder, tone is the feeling or attitude an author has towards a subject or audience. On the other hand, mood is the feeling created within the reader as he or she encounters the text.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
From whom does Bayliss buy Section 22? What connection is there between the Vincent Trapwick Jr. and Nick and Marta? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What do Jimmy Lee Bayliss's thoughts reveal? 
Below is an example of one type of butane lighter. Bayliss lets readers know that he has already disposed of this incriminating piece of evidence.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Thirteen

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Who comes to Nick's rescue? 
Below is a picture of a Key West beach.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.5
Which literary device is used to support the claim that Twilly becomes "too personally involved" in causes which he supports? 
"Hope springs eternal" originally came from Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Man" and is included in the picture below. It is now often used as an idiom that means people often continue to hope even thought they have evidence that things cannot turn out the way they want.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What can you infer about Nick's character from the highlighted text? 
Nick is still collecting information and facts like any sleuth. However, what he has just discovered is disturbing. If Mrs. Starch truly does not have any relatives, who picked up Nick and Marta? The mystery continues. 

Chapter Fourteen

Watch the short video explaining what a flashback is in literature. What does the author want to reveal to us in this text through the use of flashbacks? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.6
What is the purpose of Nick's flashback to the fishing trip with his father? 
The mysterious visitor is very well informed about what is happening in Wendell Waxmo's classroom. Who would you guess is the mysterious visitor? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What does the mysterious visitor want Wendell Waxmo to do? 
It is humorous that Bayliss chooses to impersonate a tax collector. While this decision seems momentarily wise, he quickly discovers that he picked the wrong lie! 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
According to Nick, being able to throw with his left-hand symbolizes what? 
We can infer that Duane is at Nick's house. The question is why? 

Chapter Fifteen

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Why does Smoke show up at Nick's house? 
We can infer from Dr. Dressler's actions, words, and thoughts that he is desperate for Mrs. Starch to return to school.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What reason does Wendell Waxmo give Dr. Dressler for his resignation? 
Below is a picture of Tampa Bay to help you visualize the setting. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What can readers infer about Drake McBride based on his acquired "southern" regional dialect? 

Chapter Sixteen

We can infer that environmental concerns are at the heart of "The Monkey Wrench Gang." What type of environmental issues are surfacing within Nick and Marta's community? The word art below lists different types of environmental issues.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Where did the backpack come from? 
Below is a picture of a Florida panther. Notice that this species of panther are a red-gold color. Twilly mentions that he is looking "for signs of a particular panther." Why is he looking for a specific panther? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.6
What is Dr. Dressler's main concern when he hears that Duane Scrod Jr. will be arrested at school? 
Jason Marshall is waiting to cuff Duane and bring him to the police station. Review the facts that we know about the situation. Is Duane guilty or innocent? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.6
Explain the author's purpose in having Dr. Dressler recount from his perspective what is happening as Duane runs from Marshall. 

Chapter Seventeen

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.6
How do many of the adults, including Nick's mother, view Duane? 
The highlighted textual evidence reveals that Nick has a strong sense of right and wrong. He believes in social justice. Unlike the adults, he is willing to dig deeper to find out the facts before judging a person or situation. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
What type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
Nick uses a simile here to try to explain the connection one feels at times immediately with someone else. Nick is using logic to help achieve clarity for himself and his father about Smoke. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Which word best characterizes Duane Scrod Sr. based on his actions and thoughts in this part of the story? 
Duane Scrod Sr.'s threat is funny because of the allusion it contains. Colonel Sanders is the founder and face of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  (This annotation contains an image)
Listen to Rachmaninoff's Prelude number 4 in D as it plays on the video below. Notice how the music seems cast a spell over the listener and tell a story. How might this persuade Duane Scod Sr. to open up to Marta and Nick? (This annotation contains a video)
This story is told from multiple or variable third person point of view. In other words, the perspective shifts from one character to another throughout the novel. Prior to this, we heard from Nick's point of view as he narrated what happened at school to Smoke. Here, Duane Sr. is narrating and reveals his thoughts in the highlighted text.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What does Marta suggest Duane Sr. should do to feel better? 

Chapter Eighteen

Why do you think Twilly is counting? What does this reveal about how he is feeling at this moment? 
Below is a picture of Lake Okeechobee. The lake is located north of the Florida Everglades. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What information does Twilly give Nick and Marta? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Why is Drake McBride in the emergency room? 
Scat is a word for animal feces. It is also the name of this novel. How might scat play a role in this mystery? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Which detail does not contribute to the suspenseful tone? 
Below is a picture of an alligator or "gator" commonly found in Florida.  (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz Two (Chapters Ten Through Eighteen) 

Chapter Nineteen

The picture below will help you envision the shape of Mrs. Starch's scar. What or who do you suppose gave her the scar? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
Summarize what happens from the time Nick and Marta get into Mrs. Starch's car until Mrs. Starch scurries into her tent. 
Notice that money is the deciding factor in whether or not Duane is able to stay in school. It is interesting to note that many of the adults in this novel exhibit jaded views and seem to live by the belief that "money talks." In contrast, the kids in this novel are the ones who are reasonable and less likely to "judge a book by its cover." 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted dialogue? 
Below is a picture of a baby panther. Now, we know in part what Mrs. Starch is doing in the swamp. Continue to read to unravel the rest of the mystery. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
Herman Melville's once said, "I am, as I am; whether hideous, or handsome, depends upon who is made judge." Explain in your own words what is meant by Melville's quote, and how it relates to the theme of judging others in this novel.  

Chapter Twenty

Below is a picture of a morning glory flower. Why would Twilly say that the "flash of pink...at first looked like the petal of a morning glory"? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
How does Mrs. Starch know what students, including Marta, say about her? 
Below is a picture of an eastern indigo snake. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
Explain the significance of Mrs. Starch's scar. Be sure to include how environmental problems play a role.  
Mrs. Starch foreshadows that Nick will play a critical role as we move toward the climax of the novel. She also insinuates that Nick will be needed physically. What do you predict will happen? 

Chapter Twenty-One

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
What does the conversation between Jimmy Lee Bayliss and the chopper pilot reveal about Bayliss? 
Watch this short video explaining three types of irony. Which type do we encounter at this point in the novel? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Jimmy Lee Bayliss and the pilot fly over the flags which have been rearranged to spell out "S-C-A-T." Which type of irony is used in this message? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Most people assume that Duane Jr. starts fires because he is a trouble maker. However, what motivated Duane Jr. to start the billboard fire? 
The chart below will give you a general understanding of what different animals' tracks look like.  (This annotation contains an image)
The connotation associated with the highlighted text is that time, like the sand in the picture of the hourglass below, is running out. If Twilly and Duane Jr. are unable to find the mama panther soon, the baby will die. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What secret does Twilly share with only Nick and Marta? 

Chapter Twenty-Two

Notice that by comparing Duane Jr. to a ghost, it brings to mind one who does not participate in the land of the living. This is a fitting image because Duane is on the run as a fugitive.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
Which word best describes Mrs. Winship's tone in the highlighted text? 
Below is a picture of a bloodhound. These dogs are used for tracking due to their keen sense of smell.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Why is Nick's father taken away? 
The word "southpaw" is used to refer to people who are left-handed. It can also be used to refer in baseball to left-handed pitchers, which would be a term familiar to Nick's father, who has extensive baseball experience.  
Below is a picture of the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where Nick's dad will stay.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
Who is planning on staying with Nick? 

Chapter Twenty-Three

The conversation between Marshall and Torkelsen is important. First, we see Torkelsen's reluctance to admit that Duane Jr. may not be involved in the swamp fire. What lesson can we learn from Torkelsen's reluctance? Thankfully, Marshall helps Torkelsen realize that he needs to look at the security tapes.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Smoke shares a similar motivation to which other character? 
This metaphor is used to let readers know that Peyton is not very intelligent or quick to catch on to things, a characteristic that will probably work in Nick's favor as the plot continues to thicken.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What happened to Horace? 
Below is a picture of a bobcat. While panthers have long, thick tails, bobcats tend to have short tails.  (This annotation contains an image)
The dog handler blackmails Drake McBride by revealing that he discovered the oil drilling equipment.  

Chapter Twenty-Four

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
Explain what the boys are planning on doing. 
By capturing Horace, Twilly and the group have one less thing to worry about at the moment. However, what do you think Drake and Jimmy Lee are up to next? 
Below is a picture of some cypress trees in Florida. How does the setting contribute to the suspense? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
What literary device is used in the highlighted text? 
This is an example of situational irony. As readers, we know that Hayduke is the main character in the book Twilly recommended to Nick. However, the characters in this scene are unaware of the significance of this name.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Besides the video, what evidence incriminates Jimmy Lee Bayliss? 

Chapter Twenty-Five

Study the cartoon about the Endangered Species Act below. Expect to encounter a question about the central message. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.9
What role should humans play in protecting wildlife? Answer this question by explaining how the political cartoon's message (from the last annotation) is related to the message in this novel.  
The men's operation is coming apart at the seams. While Bayliss seems to want to break free of McBride, neither man seem apologetic for what they have done.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What crime does Drake McBride try to commit in this moment? 

Chapter Twenty-Six

We can infer that Mrs. Starch was shot unknowingly by Drake McBride in the leg!  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1
What does Nick need to do? 
Now we see that Nick's training as a lefty is what is saving him, the cub, and the mission. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
Which theme can you infer from Nick's actions? 
Drake McBride is a static character because he does not change throughout the course of the novel (look at the definitions of the different types of characters in the picture below). He is still trying to use money to buy his way out of difficult situations and displays a concerning lack of respect and appreciation for both humans and animals.  (This annotation contains an image)

Epilogue

An epilogue occurs at the end of a piece of literature. Its purpose is to bring closure to the piece.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
Summarize in your own words what happens to bring positive publicity to the Truman School.  
Below is a picture of a double helix. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3
Which trait characterizes Duane Jr. and Mrs. Starch's relationship by the end of the novel? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
Use the define feature and read the definition for ballistic. Which of the following is an antonym (opposite meaning) of ballistic as it is used here? 
It is clear that Jimmy Lee Bayliss was planning on fleeing the country to avoid his trial by escaping to Mexico (pictured below). (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2
What message does this book have about humans relationships with each other, with wildlife, and with the environment? Choose one of the relationships and explain the message. 
Notice that it is the kids who ultimately provide hope for our future in this novel. How can you be a leader in protecting others, wildlife, or the environment? 
Quiz Three (Chapters Nineteen Through the Epilogue)