Racing The Moon

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Curriculet Details
46 Questions
34 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 4th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining early rockets, Dr. Wenher von Braun and Captain John Smith. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about the myth of Icarus and the topic of theme in books. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of character development, historical fiction, and post WWII America. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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1. The New Neighbor

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? 
Read the highlighted passage again and consider the words the author uses to describe Alex.  What do the details tell you about this character? 
What is Alex hinting at when she asks Ebbs if there is a Mr. Ebbs? 
This is a photo of people standing next to a German V-2 Rocket. Notice the size of the rocket in comparison to the people. (This annotation contains an image)
Adolph Hitler was the head of the Nazi party in Germany beginning in 1933. His goal was to take over Europe by force using the Nazi Army. His army conquered most of Europe and part of North Africa. The United States became involved in the war after the Nazi's tried to take over Russia. The time period from 1939 to1945 and the battles that occurred during this time are known as World War II. (This annotation contains an image)
Reread the highlighted text. What can you infer about Alex's brother Chuck? 
At times you will have to use context clues to determine the meaning of a word or phrase. This video reviews how to effectively use context clues when reading.  (This annotation contains a video)

2. Tomato Juice

Use context clues to determine the meaning of the word vulgar? 
Why does Ebbs describe the German scientist as the "Christopher Columbus of space"? 

3. Spaceman Smith

Alex often repeats what her older brother Chuck has said. What can you infer about Alex and Chuck's relationship? Explain how that relationship differs from her relationship with her other brother, John. 
This is a portrait of the explorer, Captain John Smith. (This annotation contains an image)

4. The Radio Tower

Amelia Earhart was the first female pilot to make a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. (This annotation contains an image)
When Chuck answers the officer it causes the officer to pause. Why does the officer react this way? 

5. Looking For Aliens

This picture gives you an idea of what a weather balloon looks like, with it's basket for sensors and transmitters. (This annotation contains an image)
Think about Chuck's previous actions. What do you think will be the outcome of switching the microphone wires? 
This is a picture of Gibeon meteorite. This is just one example of a space rock. The rocks vary in size color and texture depending on their composition. (This annotation contains an image)

6. Hybrids

What does the word hybrid mean in this context? 
The Greek Myth tells the story of Icarus and his father who tried to escape a prison in Crete by flying. Icarus' father built wax wings so they could fly, however Icarus ignored his father's warnings and flew too close to the sun. His wings melted and he drown in the ocean.  

7. Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot

Comparing the engine to burning sugar is a simile. Similes are a type of figurative language. This video reviews different types of figurative language.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is Chuck planning to do to get even with Reggie? 
Use context clues to define the term prop flipping. 
Chapters 1-7 Review 

8. Air Hart

This is a photograph of Amelia Earhart and her biplane. (This annotation contains an image)
This book repeats the theme of exploration. Watch this video for a brief explanation of theme in literature. (This annotation contains a video)
The author often compares space travel and sailing in the story.  Which terms best describe the theme of the story? 
This is a radio phonograph from the 1940's. The records would spin on the turntable. The arm of the record player had a needle that would "read" the grooves in the record and play the songs that were etched on it. (This annotation contains an image)

9. The Moon Station

The descriptions of Alex's mother and Ebb's appearances are very contrasting. Explain how each character's appearance fits their personality. 
The theremin is an electronic musical instrument that is "played" by moving near the instrument. It creates a high pitched and somewhat eerie sounding noise. This instrument was popular right after World War II, but the popularity did not continue. (This annotation contains an image)
In which of the following descriptions would you infer that Alex is embarrassed? 

10. Smith’s Journal

The author repeats the theme of early explorers being like astronauts. What is Ebbs talking about when she describes Smith's spacecraft? 
Captain Smith's diary is written with a different point of view than the rest of the text. Which of the following describes this new point of view? 

11. Boldly Stated Is Half-Done

Wernher von Braun has been called the "father of rocket science." He worked with the Germans during WWII to develop the V-2 rocket. Wernher then came to work with the Americans and lead research in space travel. His group became part of NASA and was responsible for the Saturn V booster rocket that helped land the first man on the moon in 1969. (This annotation contains an image)
Why would the military officer refer to the Germans as "them?" 
A theodolite is used for measuring angles in horizontal and vertical planes. This tool is used for surveying land, and was adapted for rocket launching technology. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the significance of Doctor von Braun calling Alex "Astronaut Alexis"? 
Why is it important that Alex wrote "Astronaut Alexis" on her door? 

12. Icarus

Icarus and Daedalus were mentioned earlier in the story. The author is giving the reader a hint to the events in this chapter. Perhaps Chuck's attempt at flying will have an unexpected ending like Icarus. 
Use context clues to determine the meaning of the word pandemonium. 
If you need to prove an answer, you need to provide text-based evidence. This video will show you how.  (This annotation contains a video)
Reread this page. Explain what Chuck means when he says "...either way's OK."   

13. The Shoplifter

Why do you think that Ebbs did not tell the store owner the truth about Alex's identity? 

14. Saving Chuck

Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore.  (This annotation contains an image)
"Worst of all, you're stealing from yourself, poisoning your self-respect."What does Ebbs mean when she says the line above? 
Chapters 7-14 

15. Stowaway

Jonah is a character from the Bible. (This annotation contains an image)
"Gold remembers; it is the one metal that never tarnishes."What does this statement mean to Smith? 
Constantinople is now known as Istanbul. This is a picture of the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul, Turkey. This building was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years. (This annotation contains an image)
Alex sighed with relief when she hears the owl's answering call. Explain what you believe the good news will be? 

16. The No Name

These are pictures of sailing knots, including some of the knots mentioned in the text.  (This annotation contains an image)
Use context clues to determine the meaning of the word wake. 
Ebbs uses boating terms to explain to Alex and Chuck the need to have a plan. Explain one of the boating terms and it's comparison.  

17. Under Way

Joshua Slocum was the first to sail alone around the world. He wrote a book about his journeys. The book became a best seller. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following statements about John Smith's diary is not true? 
This painting shows John Smith trading with the Virginia Indians. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Smith mean when he said he "put the Turks' heads in my mind"? 

18. Old Hands

A cadaver is a dead human body that is used to help medical students learn.  What word in the sentence also gives you clues to the meaning of the word cadaver? 
It is important to pay attention to the sequence of events in a story. Watch this video to review this reading skill.  (This annotation contains a video)
What do Alex and Chuck learn from VB's experiences that might help them in the future? 

19. At Sea

This is a photograph of Tangier Island, Virginia.  (This annotation contains an image)
Ebbs tells Chuck she knows what he is thinking.  What can you infer about Chuck's intentions? 

20. Rescue!

This is a photo of Tangiers Island in Virginia. You can see how the water comes right up to the buildings. Most of the buildings also have docks for the boats. (This annotation contains an image)
Alex promised Ebbs she would say no to Chuck's plans, but Alex felt like they were following Smith's plan. Do you agree with Chuck and Alex or feel that Ebbs was correct? Explain. 

21. Suspicious Characters

Using context clues, what is the meaning of the word moored? 
This is a picture of the marshes near the Chincoteague Channel, where the boy suggested Chuck and Alex watch the rocket launch.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Chuck said he was looking for work instead of going to school? 
What does Chuck mean when his says that they just hung a name on him, but Alley owns hers? 
This is a nighttime view of the launch facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. (This annotation contains an image)

22. Wallops

"We'll have to borrow from them."Infer what Alex means when she says the above line.  
Alley has reached a turning point in the story.  Why does the author let the reader know Alley's thoughts about Chuck? 
This is a picture of a rocket on the launch pad at Wallops Island, Virginia. This is the view Chuck and Alley might have seen on Wallops. (This annotation contains an image)

23. To the Shores of Tripoli

What does Alley mean when she says she feels like she is watching and acting in a play? 
Summarizing is an important reading strategy. It shows if you understand what you have read. This video reviews the key elements in a good summary.  (This annotation contains a video)
Summarize the chapter To the Shores of Tripoli. 

24. Moon Girl Rising

Why do you think Alex is so concerned with defending Ebbs? 
The gantry is the tower that services the rocket when it is on the launch pad. This tower falls away when the rocket is launched. (This annotation contains an image)
Dr. von Braun criticizes Chuck for his impulsive nature, and not thinking about the consequences of his actions. Why do you think Ebbs and von Braun listen to Chuck's ideas even though they criticize his impulsivity? 

25. Chuck’s Genius

"The captain said nothing, sighing and shaking his head as he turned away."What can we infer from this passage? 
The payload is the carrying capacity of the spacecraft. At the time of the story there were no manned space flights. The payload in current space flights would contain the crew, cargo or even scientific equipment. 
"A fearless man is a more dangerous comrade than a coward."What does VB mean when he says the above statement?  
Chapters 8-25 

26. Tj

Alex says she is no longer bothered by Ebbs giving Chuck more attention. What do you think has changed in their relationship? 
Why do you think Chuck is no longer "fighting to get out"?   
This is a picture of the inside of Union Station in Washington, DC. It is a very busy and beautiful train station. You can see why Alex would feel small in this grand space. (This annotation contains an image)