Insignia

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Insignia expertly combines humor with a disarming and highly realistic view of the future. The characters are real, funny, and memorable. You won’t be able to put this book down.”— Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Divergent and Insurgent
 
The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S.J. Kincaid’s fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy. The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and the war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning.
 
The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.
 
As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay...
 

Curriculet Details
65 Questions
71 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for middle school students contains interactive videos exploring dramatic and verbal irony and various types of figurative language, as well as annotations describing inferences, tone and mood, and pictures of key places and items. Students will explore the themes of control and friendship. 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

Below is a picture of a Las Vegas casino; however, in the highlighted text, the reference to the "virtual reality parlor" is our first clue that this casino may be different than the one pictured below. Read on to find out more! (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Based on the highlighted description, a reader can infer that Tom believes what? 
When you encounter a word that you do not know, 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. Try this now with the highlighted word, "avatar." If you were able to choose an avatar to represent you or your ego, what would it look like? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
How does Tom control his movements in the virtual classroom? 
Below is a picture of the ancient statue of the Greek god Ares. Since this is Elliot's call sign, it contributes to our understanding that Elliot is confident and even revered by his peers. As you continue to read, look for evidence of whether or not Elliot truly is deserving of this comparison.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Ms. Falmouth incorrectly assumes that Tom is not taking his attendance problems and success in school seriously. What is the real reason that Tom has been missing school? 
Watch the short video on exposition. The highlighted text is an example of this because it gives background info about Tom's life prior to the action or plot that is happening at this moment. What other details have we learned about Tom's life that would be part of the exposition? (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Two

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Which piece of textual evidence would be a part of the exposition of this text? 
Watch the short video on personification. The highlighted text is an example of this because Tom's heart cannot literally leap or jump. It is used to convey the fear and possibly excitement that Tom feels in this moment at this new challenge.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What does Tom mean by his statement, "I don't live in a cave"? 
Watch the short video on using textual evidence and inferences. In the highlighted text, we can infer that Tom yearns for this interaction with Marsh to be true because he wants others to view him as valuable. Ms. Falmouth's words and the last sentence in the highlighted text are our clues. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Three

Below is a picture of the Pentagon in real life. Marsh speaks of the courtyard in the picture in the past tense; his words help us to recognize that the setting of this novel is in the future, which is a characteristic of the Sci-Fi genre.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Give two different pieces of textual evidence or details that explain what life will be like for Tom at the Pentagon. 
Marsh mentions some of the areas of the brain included in the diagram below. What do you believe are the benefits and drawbacks to undergoing such an operation?  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text to convey Tom's anxiety? 
In the highlighted text, we can infer that Tom is intuitive because he quickly catches on as to why Heather is there; however, we also realize that Tom has a defiant streak within him. As you continue to read, pay attention to how this last character trait influences Tom's decisions and the plot of this novel.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Tom admits at the end of this chapter that above anything else, he wishes to be important. Give three examples from the text that would support this claim. 

Chapter Four

Chang asks Tom to use his "internal chronometer" or clock (represented in the picture below) to tell him the time. In this case, Tom literally has an internal clock inside of him.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
When did Tom's surgery take place according to the text? 
As readers, we understand Tom's appreciation for having his own space due to his unstable living arrangements with his father.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Which character gets into trouble for sneaking out to see his girlfriend? 
Below are several characteristics that are often true of the Science Fiction genre. In the highlighted text, we see Tom make a disturbing realization regarding power and control. As you continue to read, pay attention to whether Tom's premonition may in fact be something to worry about! (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Five

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Wyatt's words in the highlighted text relate to which of Tom's fears? 
Below is a picture of the French dish escargot to help you visualize the food that Tom refers to in the highlighted text. Would you eat snails?  (This annotation contains an image)
The picture below is from the movie "Braveheart." It is meant to give you a visual of what Tom is seeing. This would be quite the sight on your first day! (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Give two different pieces of textual evidence that reveal that Tom was initially afraid for his life before realizing that "the battlefield really was just a sensory illusion." 
Watch the video on hyperbole below. The purpose of the hyperbole in the highlighted text is to illustrate Tom's belief that the computer in his brain is advantageous to him.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Which word or words below would complete Heather's statement, "I barely recognized you without the ..." in the highlighted text? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6
Explain why Tom's words to Elliot in the last line of the highlighted text are humorous to readers. 

Chapter Six

Below is a statue of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire. His raids resulted in the massacres of civilians in his quest to control and unite Eurasia.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Identify two different pieces of textual evidence that support the idea that Tom experiences a pack mentality as a wolf in the beginning of this simulation.  
Which characters would agree with Chanel's statement below? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.9
In the last annotation you read the following quote by Coco Chanel, "In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different." Would Tom agree with this statement? Why or why not? 

Chapter Seven

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which word best describes Blackburn's tone as he speaks to his students in the highlighted text? 
Watch the video on foreshadowing below. As you continue to read, look for evidence that Tom may have to use his knowledge and own thinking to protect himself from "institutions, laws, [or] systems." (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Which character trait best describes Tom based on his thoughts in the highlighted text? 
Karl refers to Tom as Lassie, the fictional dog featured in a popular television series, movies, and books. This reference is meant to humiliate Tom in front of his peers.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Reread the highlighted statement. Why does Tom believe this? Explain your answer. 

Chapter Eight

We are reminded by Tom's actions in the highlighted text of his dislike for Dalton. Are you wondering what role Dalton might play as the plot thickens? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
According to the text, who is "the ultimate warrior"? 
Below is a picture of Jupiter's moon, Io.  (This annotation contains an image)
Watch the short video on tone and mood below. In the highlighted text, a humorous mood is created through the description of Tom's new body.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
What does Tom mean by the highlighted statement? 

Chapter Nine

Watch the video on similes and metaphors. Can you identify the figurative language used in the highlighted text? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6
Which statement below best summarizes Wyatt's point of view as to why people do not understand programming? 
Watch the video on imagery. Which details in the highlighted text work together to help you visualize this scene? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Give one piece of textual evidence that reveals Tom's defiant nature and explain your choice. 
Based on the description of the Genghises' actions and noises, we can infer that they are acting like chickens (like the one pictured below). What or who may have caused this change? (This annotation contains an image)
Do you foresee any problem with the fact that the military owns the neural processor in Tom's head?  

Chapter Ten

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Which character trait best describes Tom based on the highlighted text? 
Below is a diagram that shows the Kuiper Belt in relation to the planets.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Tom's growing sense of unease is conveyed to readers through which type of figurative language in the highlighted text? 
Below is a picture of a scorpion to help you visualize what Tom sees in his hand.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Tom reveals that he is struggling internally because he is torn between his ambitions to make it into CamCo one day and his acute distrust of Dalton. Which piece of textual evidence from the exchange between Tom and Dalton best supports this claim? 
Once again, we see that Tom is battling within himself to stay in control of his emotions around Dalton. Should he align himself with Dalton in order to ensure his success in CamCo or stay true to his beliefs? 

Chapter Eleven

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
What does Tom do that momentarily causes him to feel panic and distress during the sim? 
Below is a fresco depicting Achilles dragging Hector's body behind his chariot. As you continue to read, keep this painting in mind as a similar scene unfolds in this novel.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What is the purpose of the highlighted simile used to describe Medusa? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.7
Explain how this scene between Medusa and Tom mirrors the action depicted in the fresco of Achilles and Hector that you viewed in the last annotation.  
Quiz One 

Chapter Twelve

Why might Tom feel that Marsh secretly approves of what he has done? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What is the main weapon that will be used in the war games? 
Below is a picture of the Doctor Doom from the "Fantastic Four" comic series.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Explain why Wyatt says that Vik changed her mind about participating in the war games. 
Watch the video on static and dynamic characters below. In the highlighted text, we can see that Beamer is an example of a dynamic character because he has experienced a dramatic change in how he thinks. Who else is dynamic character?  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Thirteen

Watch the video on multiple-meaning words below. In the highlighted text, the word "Trojan" is usually used to refer to someone from the ancient city of Troy. However, we understand based on the context that "The Trojan" is a computer virus that infects or "infiltrates" the students' neural feeds.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Which statement below would not provide an accurate reason for why Wyatt says in the highlighted text, "I just really wanted to attack people before they attacked me, sir"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What type of figurative language does the author use in the highlighted text, and what is the purpose of using this type of figurative language? 
Watch the short video on character traits. In the highlighted text, we can infer that Vik can be described as confident and focused. Which traits would best describe Tom? (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Fourteen

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Use the define feature to read the definitions of diabolical. Then, choose the antonym for diabolical that is listed below.  
Below is a picture of a fist pump to help you visualize what Tom is referring to in the highlighted text. He encourages Wyatt to do this because he wants her to celebrate her victory and take pride in herself.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text to help readers visualize the shrunken size of the brain? 
Below is a picture of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Choose one word to describe Wyatt and explain your choice with an example from the text. 

Chapter Fifteen

Below is a world map; the red dots represent genocides that have taken place between 1900-2005. What do you believe drives societies to participate in and commit genocides? Why might it be dangerous to treat those who are different than us with intolerance? (This annotation contains an image)
Watch the video on dramatic irony below. This type of irony is used in the highlighted text because as readers we know that there are things that Dalton and Dominion Agra can do to "change" Tom's mind. How might Dalton use Tom's neural processor to alter Tom's thinking? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Dalton and Tom do not climb upward towards the light-filled heavens to get to this elite club; instead, they must travel "downward" into the dark bowels of the building to reach their destination. What might the location of this club signify, and how might it affect Tom? 
Below is a picture of a portcullis. This is an unusual defense mechanism for this building to have.  (This annotation contains an image)
We see dramatic irony here because we are aware that Prestwick is not a "great guy" but is ruthless and manipulative. However, Tom is completely oblivious at the moment to Prestwick's true nature. 

Chapter Sixteen

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
According to Olivia Ossare, what is Beamer is suffering from? 
Below is a Gaston Bussiere's painting from 1897 entitled, "Brynhild." Based on the artwork below, what can you infer about Brynhild? (Note that the spelling is different in the painting from the reference in the text; however, both refer to the same Valkyrie.) (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.9
Based on the painting "Brynhild" in the last annotation and the description of Brunhilde, what can readers infer about this Valkyrie? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Based on the highlighted text, which word best describes Tom's actions in this scene? 

Chapter Seventeen

Karl uses another famous dog reference in the highlighted text. This reference or allusion is to Jack London's famous novel "White Fang." (This annotation contains an image)
Watch the video on symbolism. Mr. Prestwick orders salmon for Tom. In this situation, the salmon represents the idea that Tom is caught like a fish.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
The highlighted text contains the second reference to the portcullis in this chapter. Explain the symbolism that the portcullis represents in regards to Tom's situation.  
Throughout this novel, Tom demonstrates a defiant streak; however, he is now being controlled. How will he overcome this? 

Chapter Eighteen

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What can readers can infer about Mr. Prestwick from the highlighted text? 
Below is a picture of a guinea pig. Enslow and Blackburn mean to control Tom like he is an animal in a science experiment.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text to create suspense? 

Chapter Nineteen

Below is a diagram of a male bench pressing weights like Tom is about to do.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Tom demonstrates extreme anger towards Dalton and Karl in the highlighted text. In a complete sentence, explain what you think root cause of Tom's emotional reaction is? 

Chapter Twenty

Below is a picture of the famous fountain in Dupont Circle.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Tom spends $50,000 on Dalton's credit card. Which statement below is not one of the ways in which Tom spends the money? 

Chapter Twenty-One

Watch the video on making inferences below. In the highlighted text, we can infer that the septic system is going to play a central part in Tom's revenge on Dalton and Dominion Agra. It may become a stinky situation! (This annotation contains a video)
Here, we see that our earlier inference about the importance of the septic system from the beginning of the chapter is correct! The scum, wastewater, and sludge (seen in the diagram below) are now on their way up into club. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
How does Medusa help Tom sabotage Dalton's party?  

Chapter Twenty-Two

Below is a picture of Benedict Arnold; his name has become synonymous with being a traitor.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Blackburn chooses whom as the foxes? 
We can infer that Tom feels a sense of relief and safety after what he has just been through! 
Quiz Two 

Chapter Twenty-Three

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What is Medusa's nationality? 
This term is usually reserved for someone who believes he or she knows better than the players and coaches in professional sports. Tom is surprised that Elliot wants his take because Tom is just a plebe. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Write down two pieces of textual evidence that would support why Tom might feel a "wave of foreboding" during his interaction with Karl.  

Chapter Twenty-Four

Below is a picture of a planetarium.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Based on Medusa's actions and words in the highlighted text, readers can infer what about her? 

Chapter Twenty-Five

Watch the video on point of view. From whose point of view is this novel written? Which clues in the highlighted text help you to identify the point of view? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Based on Tom's actions and speech in the highlighted text, readers can infer that Tom primarily feels which emotions at this time? 
Do you believe that Blackburn and the government are justified in forcing memories and images from Tom's mind? Why or why not? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which word best describes the tone of the highlighted text? 

Chapter Twenty-Six

Watch the video below on setting. In the highlighted text, we encounter details that help us to visualize Tom's surroundings as he undergoes the culling.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
What critical information to the war effort does Blackburn discover about Tom? 
Notice how the use of the simile in the highlighted text serves to emphasize how incredibly agonizing this process is for Tom. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Based on the highlighted text, which type of figurative language is used to describe the manner in which the culling machine works? 

Chapter Twenty-Seven

We can infer from the highlighted text that the culling is taking a painful toll on Tom physically. Which details would best support this inference? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Click on "pillage" in the highlighted text and use the define option to read the definitions. Next, explain what Tom means by the phrase "pillage his mind." Be sure to use examples from the text to support your answer.  
According to Marsh, which two characteristics make Tom a perfect match to join the plebes in the Spire? 

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Below is an illustration of Pickett's Charge, the culmination of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Use the define feature to read the definitions for "bleak." Select the statement below that uses "bleak" in the same way as the highlighted text. 
Read the definition of alliteration below. In the highlighted text, we see alliteration used in the repetition of the "s" consonant.  (This annotation contains an image)
Below is a painting of Princess Elizabeth Tudor, also known as Queen Elizabeth I.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6
Why does Tom use hyperbole in the highlighted statement? 

Chapter Twenty-Nine

It is a sobering realization for Tom that what he is about to do is not a game. Do you think this realization will make him more cautious? Why or why not? 
Watch the video on verbal irony. Nigel's words in the highlighted text are an example of this.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
The Capitol Summit exhibition is high stakes for Tom, and Tom stands to lose a lot. According to the text, which detail below is not one that Tom could lose if the outcome of this battle does not go his way? 
Below is a picture of the dome of the Rotunda of the Capitol Building.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Nigel's words in the highlighted text are an example of  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Identify which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text and explain the purpose of using this type of figurative language.  
Notice how the description of the setting becomes increasingly more positive as Tom moves the ship upward. Words and phrases like "silken clouds" and "the stars resolved in vibrant life about his vessel" work to create a shift in tone from fearful to energetic.  

Chapter Thirty

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Why does Medusa scream that Tom has "ruined everything"? 
Watch the video on internal and external conflict. The highlighted text suggests that Tom may begin to struggle with internal conflict driven by his sense of remorse over what he did to Medusa to win the Capitol Summit.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Thirty-One

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which literary device is used to convey the depth of Tom's anger in the highlighted text? 
In the highlighted text, we see that Tom has won the day over Blackburn. In Tom's eyes, Blackburn is evil. Would you characterize Blackburn as evil or dedicated? 
Below is a picture of Mount Everest. What important realizations does Tom make about his father during this meeting? (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Thirty-Two

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Which plebe is not being promoted during this ceremony? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Summarize what Tom discovers about Medusa and himself. 
Watch the movie trailer for another sci-fi story called "The Giver." As you watch look for similarities between the central ideas in "The Giver" and this novel.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.9
In the movie trailer for "The Giver," the following statement is made, "The way things look and the way things are, are very different." Explain how this quote is true in Insignia. Use two examples from this story to support your answer.  
Quiz Three