STEM Book Club: Scouts by Shannon Greenland

Scouts by Shannon Greenland is a juvenile fiction book for 4-6th graders.

Annie, Beans, Rocky, and Fynn make up the Scouts. A name they gave themselves when they were little. They’ve been best friends for a long time, doing everything together. Hiking, biking and most of all getting in trouble.

But things are different this summer, and Annie isn’t so sure the Scouts will make it to seventh grade in tact. Trying to get back that feeling a rightness, Annie and the Scouts climb Old Man Basinger’s silo to watch a meteor shower. When one of the meteors seem to crash nearby, the Scouts are determined to track it down.

But this will be easier said than done. After their campsite is invaded by a bear, they fall into a river and are kidnapped by the Mason Mountain Clan, the gang is starting to fight more than ever. Will anything be the same after this trip? Will the even survive?

Discussion Questions / Further Reading 

  1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?
  2. What did you like and dislike in this book? What would have made it better?
  3. What STEM themes can you pull out of this book?
  4. Annie, Beans, Rocky, and Fynn consider themselves the Scouts because of all the adventures they go on. Can you relate to any of the Scouts? If so, who and why? (You can include Scarlett and Edge too)
  5. Each of the Scouts wants to find/follow the trail of the meteor for a different reason? What are they?
  6. What are some ways that the Scouts use, or could have used, survival tactics to make it through this unexpected journey through the woods?
  7. Scouts is the story of good friends who may be on the verge of drifting apart. Has this even happened to you? Why do you think boys and girls drift apart as they get older?
  8. Throughout the book, the Scouts seem to fall apart and then come together to get through. What are some instances of this teamwork that helps them to survive?
  9. This book takes place in 1985, near the very end of the Cold War. What threat might the Scouts worry about when seeing strange object fall from the sky?
  10. At the end of the story the Scouts find out that they weren’t chasing a meteor, or an alien space craft, but instead a spy satellite. In the context of the story, did you believe this? What were some hints that the truth may not be what it seems?

DYI Alien Hover Crafts

Supplies: Old CD, sports cap lid from water bottle, 1 balloon, hot glue gun

How to:

  • Do not remove the cover of the sport cap lid.
  • Take an old CD and carefully place a ring of hot glue along the inner circle of the CD.
  • Carefully, press the ring of the sports cap into the glue. The sippy part of the cap should be upward facing.
  • Slip the balloon over the cap. Try to make a tight seal.
  • Now you are ready to blow up your balloon from the bottom side of the CD.
  • Once you have blown up your balloon, try closing the cap to keep the air in until you are ready to let your craft fly.
  • Place the CD on the floor. When you are ready to let it hover, gently remove the lid and watch what happens.

What happens if you don’t blow your balloon up all the way? What happens if you inflate if fully? Try it on different surfaces, does that change anything? Does the size of the balloon matter? Can you think of any ways to improve this design?

The Science:

The balloon and the sports cap lid create a seal that keeps in air. When that air is released it is forces to travel back down the cap and along the sides of the CD. The force of the air expelling from the balloon creates a cushion of air between the bottom of the cd and the surface it is on, allowing it to glide, just barely resting above the surface.

Sources:

Hovercraft Science Experiment

How’d it go:

Well, we had to tweak things here a bit since we went totally virtual for this one, but I think it went well, technical difficulties aside I think it went pretty well.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Author: MarandaLee

Children's Librarian. Connoisseur of all things bookish.

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