Shine! by J.J. and Chris Grabenstein is a juvenile fiction novel for 4-6th graders.
Piper Milly has a talent for blending in. She can’t sing or dance, she doesn’t excel at sports or hangs with the popular crowd. She’s smart, she likes astronomy and she’s happy with her small group of friends. So when her dad get’s a new job at a prestigious prep school, Piper is bummed that she has to transfer.
Chumley Prep is definitely a school for the rich and Piper definitely doesn’t fit in. Shortly after she joins the school, she finds out that a mysterious award will be awarded to the “best” student of winter break. Piper shrugs off the contest because she would never win that sort of thing, or would she?
Discussion Questions / Further Reading
- What is this book about? What are the main themes?
- What did you like and dislike in this book? What would have made it better?
- What STEM themes can you pull out of this book?
- Do you think Piper did the right thing when she gave back the money that she and Hannah found at the mall? What would you do? What if you only found a $1? $20? $50?
- How important is it for you to get good grades and excel in school, sports, and/or the arts? How does this make you feel?
- Depending on the culture and area in the world, people see the moon’s shadow as something different. It makes Piper realize that a lot of things look different depending on your point of view. Can you think of an example in your life or an issue in the world where this applies?
- What do you think of Piper’s acts of kindness? Would you do the same?
- Let’s think about Mr. Van Deusen’s assignment (p51-52). Who do you want to be? Not when your grown up. Not in the future. Now.
- What did you think about the Excelsior competition now that you know what is it? Why do you think Chumley Prep needed this competition?
- Why is this book called Shine! What message is this book meant to inspire?
DYI Moon Craters
Supplies: Foils cooking pans, flour, coco powder, various size/weight marbles, balls, step stool, ruler
- First, create your moon surfaces by pouring an even layer of flour in the foil pan. Smooth it out and then lightly sprinkle a layer of coco powder on top. You may want to use a tarp or plastic table cloth underneath.
- Try to select “meteors” of varying size and weight.
- A small and large marble, a foil ball, maybe a nerf ball or a large bouncy ball.
- Set up three different heights to drop the objects from. ie standing, on a stool from a table top.
- Take turns dropping each item. For the first test, try dropping the same marble from each height. Then test your other sized objects.
- Measure the size and depth of each “crater” made. Keep track on paper.
- Which marble from which height made the deepest/largest impact? What does this tell you?
- Dropping the marbles at various heights can show us how speed affects the size of the craters. Using different sized objects, shows how the mass of the object also affects the size and shape of the impact crater.
- Piper found that “The rounder the object hitting the moon, the faster an object is travelling, the farther away an object is from the moon, the larger the crater it creates.” (p104)
How’d it go:
This was the last one run by my colleauge while I am on maternity leave but I decided to join in because I just loved this book. Overall, this was a fun one and everyone had their supplies ready. I made my coco level a little too thick but other than that everything went great!
That’s all for now!