Unit 12: Appreciating Narrative Writing
LA.E. 2.4.1 Analyzes the
effectiveness of complex
elements of plot, such as
setting, major events,
problems, conflicts, and
Preparing for FCAT Reading – pp. 226 - 250
HSCT/FCAT Skill Packets: Unit 12 - Multiple Skills
Guided Practice – The Dead Man’s Plum Bush
1. Carefully read pages 226 to 229. Be sure you can identify the characteristics of
the four major elements of: Settings, Characters, Plot and Theme.
2. Putting It All Together allows you to begin to identify plot elements. Read and
answer all questions as directed for: The Street, To Build a Fire, Tub Under the
Stars, A Tale of Terror, Planting a Pear Tree, and The Open Window.
Remember to complete the multiple-choice questions also.
3. Complete the FCAT Skill packet Unit 12 – Multiple Skills. Begin with The
Shrinking Computer, Sports Car Performance, Precision Grinding, Building
Wood, The Desperate Dancer, and Limiting After-school Work.
4. Complete the remaining FCAT Skill packet exercises: Mahalia Jackson,
Recording: Idea to Disc, Shakespeare Acts, London, Amphitheater Stage, The
Globe Theater, and Tornadoes. Remember to use your own paper.
5. Write a letter to William Shakespeare. Explain to him, using the English
language as excellently as he does, expressing your opinion of his work. You
may choose one specific play or his work as a whole.
Turn in your work to your instructor when complete for grading or instruction and in
preparation for the final examination.
Unit 12 -Page 1 of 19
FCAT/HSCT: MULTIPLE SKILLS
TASK: Read the passage and answer the questions that follow.
THE SHRINKING COMPUTER
What kinds of job do computers perform? Today you can own a computer the size of a small TI 7
If you had seen the first electronic computer space!
in1946, called ENIAC, what would you have Computers have certainly become smaller. What
Scientists found ways to make the “brains” of
computers smaller. First, they went from using
vacuum tubes, which are like light bulbs, to
using much smaller sized transistors. Then they
found a way to put the functions of thousands of
transistors onto a tiny piece of material the size
of a fingernail, called a chip. Someday, computer
chips that now perform the functions of
thousands of transistors will do the jobs of
millions. This means that computers will be
made even more powerful, without getting
One advantage of making computers smaller
is that they can be used in many devices. Some
TVs, radios, and even dishwashers now have
computer “brains” to improve their
thought? Would you have thought of hand-held performance. Eventually, scientists believe that
video games or credit-card-sized calculators? Most small and powerful computers will be
likely not. More probably, you would have been developed to run robots such as the ones in
impressed by its size. This early computer weighed science-fiction movies. At the rate at which
30 tons and occupied 15,000 square feet of floor computers are improving , this may not take very
1. Scientists are able to make computers smaller because they
A. took out the brains B. starting using tiny transistors C. made them
2. Which of the following had NOT been used “as the brains” of the computer?
A. vacuum tubes B. calculators C. chips
3. This selection suggests that in the future
A. Science-fiction robots are going to be life sized.
B. Dishwashers are going to have computers in them.
C. Science-fiction types of robots are going to become a reality.
4. The main idea of this passage is
A. Scientists changes the “brains” of computers.
B. Scientists learned how to make computer chips.
C. Scientists made computers smaller and more powerful.
5. Name some devices you see every day, which may contain a computer
THINK: Sometimes scientific advances bring on new problems, such as people being
replaced by machines at work.
Unit 12 -Page 2 of 19
What other examples can you suggest?
TASK: Read the passage and answer the questions that follow.
A sports car is a high-performance roadster, built to stick to the road even on curves
that throw ordinary cars the shoulders. A manual gearshift, a firm-some would call it
rough-ride, and powerful brakes are the features which generally characterize the sports
car; yet the fans often disagree about a particular car’s qualifications. Nothing irks a purist
more than hearing the words “sports car” applied to an ordinary soft-sprung roadster or to
a closed car.
Fun, not transportation, is the main idea behind sports cars. They are, quite simply, a
pleasure to drive-sensitive and responsive. For a man with mechanical ability, they also are
fun to work on. A mass of technical information is available to the owner. Easily accessible,
and with such features as overhead valves, the sports car engine is “built to be worked on.”
The majority of owners probably do their own tuning and puttering.
Many sports cars are tame enough for ordinary city driving. Owners point out these
distinct city advantages: economy of fuel and garage space, and ease of handling in traffic
and in parking.
6. After reading this article, the reader should
A. be able to define “sports car” C. be able to fix a sports car
B. want to own a sports car D. be confused about what a
sports car is
7. Sports car fans
A. are quarrelsome
B. don’t always agree on which cars qualify as sports cars
C. always agree about what a sports car is
D. are Puritans
8. To qualify as a sports car, according to the purists, a car must be
A. open C. soft sprung
B. closed D. inexpensive
9. The chief attraction of a sports car is in providing
A. cheap transportation C. fun for its owner
B. work for mechanics D. easy parking
10. Owners of sports cars derive driving pleasure from their auto’s
A. ability to win races C. sensitive responses
B. inexpensiveness D. roominess
11. Probably most owners of sports cars are
A. poor drivers C. lacking mechanical skills
B. mechanically inclined D. economical
Unit 12 -Page 3 of 19
12. According to the article, a sports car can easily be worked on because of its
A. V-8 engine C. dual carburetors
B. manual gearshift D. overhead valves
13. Sports car owners agree that sports cars are
A. too fast for city driving C. unpopular with city drivers
B. too fat for highways D. advantageous to city driving
MULTIPLE SKILLS PRACTICE:
William Collins is approaching the end of a four-year apprenticeship and will soon be a
journeyman precision grinder. He was introduced to grinding during his two years of
vocational machining in high school- On the job, however, he has developed a much fuller
knowledge of tool and cutter grinding-
As he moved through his apprenticeship, William discovered that learning precision
grinding requires much patience and practice. He had to familiarize himself with the
procedures for sharpening a wide variety of metal - cutting tools. He also had to become
acquainted with the industry codes for making grinding wheels.
Choosing the correct wheel for the job is one of the major decision William must make. He
works with carbide, hardened steel, and stainless steel tools, and he must pick the right
grade of wheel and grain size for each metal. Depending on the type of milling cutter,
reamer, or tap to be ground, he decides to use certain cup or disc wheels.
How the work piece is positioned on the grinding machine is also important. William
must calculate how much to offset the center of the tool from the center of the grinding
wheel. To work efficiently, he must also determine the best point to begin grinding.
While William always enjoyed working with machinery, he faced some real challenges
during his apprenticeship. He learned that difficult machining problems could be solved by
patiently working out the correct procedure. William knows that the end of his training
period does not mean the end of learning or decision –making. But now he is well-
equipped to deal with whatever may arise.
14. Good precision grinding is the result of
A. vocational training
B. on the job training
C. patience and practice
15. Write a main idea statement that pulls together the
A. be familiar of the properties of metals
B. learn industry codes
C. know procedures for sharpening a variety of tools
Unit 12 -Page 4 of 19
16. One may conclude that at the end of an apprenticeship, one
A. is an expert in precision grinding
B. can get a good paying job anywhere
C. will be learning more and dealing with new challenges
TASK: Reading a chart.
If you are building a deck, it is important to choose the appropriate kind of lumber. To
Select the best type of lumber for the job, first identify the main structural requirements.
Then check the characteristics of different woods to see which one meets those
requirements. For example, wood that is high in bending strength or stiffness is most
suitable for beams or joists. Parts that are exposed to the elements should be made of wood
that has a high resistance to decay. To determine the characteristics of woods commonly
used in the United States, consult the following table and answer the questions.
17. The purpose of the table is to illustrate.
A. the variety of woods available in the United States
B. characteristics and strength properties of different kinds of woods
C. woods that should be used to build decks
D. why woods have different classifications
18. Which of the following woods has the best total rating for paint holding, decay
and resistance and strength as a post?
A. spruce B. hemlock, white fir C. western red cedar D. ash
19. As it is used here, the best meaning for the word “joist” is
A. a bed B. a lath C. an outing D. a joust
20. The best conclusion one may draw from the above information is that
A. various woods have different properties
B. strength is the most important factor in building a deck
C. some decks are resistant to water
D. decks exposed to the elements should be made of brick
Working/Behavior Chraracteristics Strength Properties
Hardness Paint Holding Decay Resistance Bending Stiffness Freedom from Pitch
Ash 3 2 2 2 2 3
Red Cedar 1 3 3 3 1 3
Cypress 1 3 3 3 3 3
Douglas Fir 2 3 3 3 3 2
Gum 3 2 2 2 2 3
Hemlock 3 2 3 3 3 3
Soft Pine 1 3 1 3 3 2
Southern Pine 1 3 1 3 3 1
Poplar 2 2 3 2 2 3
Redwood 2 2 2 2 2 3
Spruce 1 1 2 3 2 3
Unit 12 -Page 5 of 19
TASK: Read the mini mystery and solve the case!
The Case of the Desperate Dancer
It was Friday night and, as always, Zack was trying to get through dinner with his
family-so he could go hang out with his friends. What he was really looking forward to this
night was the school dance. It would be his first this year.
Zack had been thinking about the dance for weeks. He was especially excited about
the prospect of dancing with Cynthia - a girl he’d had a crush on for a year.
Finally dinner was over and he was off to the dance. He entered the gym of the
single story school which was decorated with streamers and balloons. The sounds of music
made the windows vibrate.
Inside, Zack scanned the dance floor until he made eye contact with Cynthia To his
surprise, she waved and began walking toward him. As he tried to psych himself up to ask
her to dance, Cynthia said ,”You better be planning on dancing with me, Zack.”
Zack couldn’t believe his luck, but then he spotted Tom, another guy he knew had a
crush on Cynthia. Tom was holding his arm and his face was contorted with pain. Zack
wondered what Tom was up to.
Tom made his way over to them. “You have to help me, Cynthia,” he said, clutching
his arm. “Please take me home, I think I’m going to faint.”
“What happened?” asked Cynthia, sympathetically.
“Oh, the pain is terrible,” whined Tom. “I went to my locker before the dance, and
fell down the stairs on the way back to the gym. I think my elbow is broken.”
“Of course I’ll take you home,” Cynthia said, “I hope you understand, Zack.”
Actually, I do, Cynthia,” Zack replied. “I can’t believe you’re so desperate you’d lie,”
he said to Tom.
21. How did Zack know that Tom had lied?
__________(Answer on your paper)_________________________________________________
Unit 12 -Page 6 of 19
FCAT/HSCT Limiting after-school work
When high school students themselves come to realize that long hours of after-school
work too often mean low grades, it is time for parents and school officials -and anyone else
who cares about the importance of education -to set some reasonable limits.
At Hingham High School, students helped conduct a survey aimed at finding out
how much of a link there was between after-school work and low grades. The results
indicate that anything over 15 hours a week is cause for concern.
The findings are similar to those in Walpole, where teachers conducted a survey after
the school nurse reported that many students asked to leave school early because they were
tired from after school work.
Seventy percent of Hingham’s high school students work -a figure that surprised
school officials in that relatively affluent community. About a third work more than 15
hours a week -and half of that group recorded the worst grades. Teacher Steve Hermann,
who worked on the survey with the students, agreed there was a correlation, but said it was
possible some students doing poorly in school turned to outside work for “enjoyment or
There has long been a myth that work is good for adolescents, a myth that is only
slowly being debunked. Ellen Greenburger and Laurence Steinberg, in summarizing their
study “When Teenagers Work,” note that “extensive part-time employment during the
school year may undermine youngsters’ education” by leading to luxury consumer
spending, increased drug and alcohol use, anti-social behavior, and “increased cynicism
about the pleasures of productive work.”
If it were not that the service economy -everything from fast-food outlets to nursing
homes- depended on the unskilled and underpaid services of young people, some control
would have been placed on after-school working hours a long time ago.
The evidence is increasing that such controls are necessary. Political leaders who talk
about the value of a skilled and educated work force should be the first to insist on them.
22. Which students received the worst grades, according to the survey in Hingham High
A. 70% of the high school students
B. half of the 70% who work
C. half of the students who work more than 15 hours a week
23. What do Greenberger and Steinberg NOT think may result from extensive part-time
A. Teenagers have more money for luxuries, drugs, and alcohol
B. Teenagers contribute to their families’ budgets
C. Teenagers become anti-social and anti-work
24. What is teacher Steve Hermann’s opinion about extensive part-time work
automatically resulting in poor grades?
A. He thinks all of the students who work more than fifteen hours a week have poor
B. He thinks some poor students may get jobs in order to experience success in some
areas of their lives.
C. He thinks work is not related at all to grades.
Unit 12 -Page 7 of 19
FCAT SKILL: MULTIPLE SKILLS
Most great singers have had singing lessons since childhood. Occasionally, though,
a great voice comes through untrained--a voice that is unbelievably naturally beautiful.
Mahalia Jackson had such a voice. Without having had a lesson, she was able to captivate
listeners with her magnificent voice that never seemed strained or forced.
Mahalia Jackson was a gospel singer. She preferred to sing hymns rather than
operatic arias or popular songs. Since financial rewards did not concern her, she rejected
many opportunities to become wealthy. She sang for simple country people and for royalty.
But she never changed her style or her point of view. At one point, after much urging, her
husband persuaded her to try out for a regular stage role. She reluctantly paid 25 cents for a
song sheet and went to the audition. The judges offered her the part, for they were highly
impressed. At this point, however, her husband got a job, and she turned down the offer.
She wanted to go on singing at concerts.
Mahalia Jackson was a down-to earth person without a trace of conceit. She
considered her singing talent a gift from God and accepted it humbly. She would assist
box-office clerks and would even help sell tickets out front, if necessary. Consequently, she
was loved by all her associates.
Perhaps Mahalia Jackson’s greatest moment was singing “The Star-Spangled
Banner” at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. The national anthem may never have
been sung better.
25. Write the letter of the statement that best expresses the main idea.
(A) Mahalia Jackson had a highly successful career on her own terms.
(B) Mahalia Jackson’s greatest thrill was singing at President John F. Kennedy’s
(C) Mahalia Jackson could have become a very wealthy woman.
(D) A natural voice is better than a trained one.
26. After all her success, Mahalia Jackson always remained
(a) critical (b) natural (c) shy (d) uncertain
27. As used in paragraph 1, captivate means (A) bore (B) arouse ( C) enchant (D) calm.
28. As used in paragraph 3, reluctantly means
(A) gratefully (B) joyfully ( C) carefully (D) unwillingly.
29. Mahalia Jackson was able to refuse a stage role when
A. she changed her style of singing.
B. her husband got a job.
C. the judges couldn’t pay her enough.
D. she was booked to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Unit 12 -Page 8 of 19
FOCUS ON RECORDINGS- IDEA TO DISC
When you buy the latest record by a favorite group, you tend to think of the record as
having been “made” by the group. The artists, however, are just the most visible part of the
recording industry. Beneath the surface is a large supporting cast of other workers.
Without them, no record could reach you.
The decision to make a record comes from the talent section of a record company.
Experts there work with established performers. Talent scouts review sample tapes by new
artists. Once the company and the artists agree to make a record, lawyers draw up
contracts for the deal.
A record producer is then put in charge of the recording session. He or she makes all
final decisions about the recording. The producer arranges for the recording studio and
may also hire back-up musicians and audio engineers record the sound-proof room, while
the engineers record the sound on multi-track tapes.
Out of the studio session comes a master tape. It may have mistakes and different
“takes” of the same music. The producer and the engineer then edit the tape. They choose
the best work, and they blend and balance the sound.
The final, edited tape is then sent to a record manufacturer. There it is first played
into a cutting lathe, which looks like a regular phonograph. As the music plays, the V-
shaped needle of the lathe cuts a fine, wavy groove into a blank record called a lacquer. The
lacquer is aluminum coated with plastic. The groove that is cut copies the vibration pattern
of the sound on the final tape.
The lacquer is used to make a series of metal molds for the record. A mold made out
of hard nickel, called a stamper, is used to make the final record. Each stamper must be
replaced after about 500 records.
Thin pieces of plastic called biscuits are pressed between stampers. The press melts
the biscuit and squeezes the record imprint onto it, making the record. At the same time, a
label is attached to each side of the record. The records are inserted into dust jackets,
supplied by another company. They are then ready for shipment.
To be a success, a record must be sold. Record companies have distribution
departments to see that the records get to the stores. They have promotion departments,
too, to see that the records and the artists get good publicity. The promotion staff tries to
get their records played on radio stations where they will be widely heard. They arrange
concerts and interviews by the artists.
Hard work, the key to success in the recording industry, lies beneath the surface
glamour. It takes hard work and many people to produce a record and get it to you. You
may want to think about some behind- the-scenes job in the recording industry. There may
be a job for you!
Unit 12 -Page 9 of 19
30. What is the purpose of this selection?
A. To describe the process of making recordings
B To describe different jobs and processes in making and selling records.
C. To describe how recording stars become successful.
31. If you have a group that wants to cut a record, what should you do?
A. Rent a studio from a recording company.
B. Send a sample tape to a talent scout.
C. Invite a talent scout to come hear you.
32. What does a cutting lathe do?
A. It makes a master record from a tape.
B. It stamps the grooves into the record.
C. It cuts the grooves into the record.
33. What is a master tape?
A. The final edited version of the performance.
B. The tape recording of a performance in the soundproof room.
C. The tape used for making cassette and 8-track recordings
34. Number the following steps for making a record in the order in which they occur.
__Metal molds are made.
__Grooves are cut into a lacquer.
__The record is pressed between stampers.
__The edited tape is sent to a manufacturer.
35. In paragraph 8: the word promotion means
A. Helping a person or product get ahead
B. Making a hard-to-make
C. Managing several things at once
Unit 12 -Page 10 of 19
TASK: Read the passage and answer the questions.
Acting today may look easy hut back in Shakespeare ‘s Lifetime it required a good mind, physical
strength. and courage. Few people know that not only was William Shakespeare a respected
playwright but he was talented actor, too.
We are so accustomed to thinking of Shakespeare as a playwright that it is
interesting to learn that he was considered a fine actor as well. This was no small
accomplishment. The Elizabethan actor performed on a platform where, if he stretched out
his hand, he could touch a gallant on the stage or a groundling standing in the pit. Such
closeness demanded that the actor not only “look” the role, but “be” the role. Every gesture
he made, every line that he spoke had to be believable according to what was common
during that time. A wrong move would have brought the actor a shower of nuts and
orange peels from the audience.
An actor had to be strong. The plays were full of action and violence. An actor may
find himself on the upper level of the stage fighting off an invasion with his sword then
leaping down twelve feet to the lower level to take part in hand-to hand combat.
An actor also had to be able to dance, sing, play musical instruments and have an
excellent memory. It was usual for an actor with a small part to take on several roles in one
production. Four roles were normal but sometimes the number of roles increased to seven
or eight when the company was on tour. The schedule was made up of a different play each
day, with a new play being introduced every two weeks or so. This meant some actors had
to memorize and perform about twenty-five parts a week!
36. The main idea of the passage is
A. actors had to work hard physically.
B. actors had to have a good memory, be physically fit, and make their characters
C. actors have had to had dancing, singing, and good acting abilities.
D. actors had to be able to memorize up to twenty-five parts a week.
37. After reading the paragraph, one can conclude that
A. An actors job was difficult.
B. The audience expected to see action in every play.
C. Shakespeare was a fine actor.
D. An actor had to be able to read quickly
38. The word “gallant”, as it is used in this passage, means
B. young man
D. Ship’s kitchen
Unit 12 -Page 11 of 19
TASK: Read the passage and answer the questions that follow.
London, England was home to many acting companies in William Shakespeare ‘s time. London was
a city that had all types of amusements for all types of people. It has been said that the constant fear
of plague and death caused the people to anxiously look for amusement.
London was a city of many contrasts. There were prisons and palaces, colleges and bear-
baiting pits, cathedrals and slums. As early as eight in the morning, the narrow, twisted
streets were busy with street peddlers, businessmen, and people seeking pleasure:
Shopkeepers stood outside their businesses calling out to passersby offering their products.
Horsemen clothed in beautiful velvet and silks, bearded soldiers with weapons, and
beggars asking for a handout also crowded the streets. The smell was almost unbearable
because of the peoples’ habit of throwing garbage out of their windows into the street.
Even farm animals wandered around the streets untended!
Because of the busy streets, the Thames River became the main thoroughfare of the city. Tall
houses and shops crowded together along the banks of the river. Ferries carried people to
various parts of London. Sometimes you could see the barge of Queen Elizabeth I cruising
by, moving carefully among the long-necked swans that lived on the river. Only one bridge
crossed the Thames and that was the famous London Bridge.
39. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. London was a city of many contrasts.
B. Ferries were important to travel in London.
C. People wore many different types of clothing.
D. London smelled terrible because of the garbage thrown out of windows.
40. What type of people crowded the streets?
A. Businessmen, peddlers, and queens.
B Horsemen, soldiers and beggars.
C. Shopkeepers, swans, and beggars.
D. Horsemen, peddlers, and queens.
41. After reading this passage, one can conclude that London was
A. a busy, crowded city.
B. a terrible city in which to live.
C. a calm place to live.
D. a seaport.
Unit 12 -Page 12 of 19
TASK: Read the passage and answer the questions that follow.
The theatre is like a small stadium: its rows on rows of tiered seats holding over
15,000 excited spectators, encircle the huge stage-a platform more than 300 feet long-upon
which every pair of eyes is focused.
On this stage two men are fighting to the death. This is a play, and the two men who
are fighting have roles in the play; but the script calls for one of them to die, and the
spectators, accustomed to seeing actual death in g1adi~torial contests, will not be cheated
with mere imitation. The actor who is to die knows it; beneath his mask he is perspiring
with fright, his body is trembling. Any attempt to escape would be punished not only by
death, but by torture as well. The audience is urging the fighters on, licking its lips in
expectation of the kill.
The fight reaches a climax; the despairing slave meets his destined death giving one
last shiver of agony as his blood stains the stage. The audience sighs with pleasure and then
That was the theatre of Rome in its decline.
42. The scene described takes place in
A. the Pantheon
B. modern Rome
C. ancient Greece
D. ancient Rome
43. Apparently, the theatre was much like a
A. convention hall
C. modern theatre
D. football stadium
44 . In length, the stage measured
A. more than 300 yards
B. more than 300 feet
C. 15 yards
D. 15,000 feet
45. The participants in this event are called
D. D. heroes
Unit 12 -Page 13 of 19
46. Which participant will die
A. depends on which is stronger
B. is decided before the fight
C. is decided by the combatants
D. is unknown
TASK Read the selection and answer the questions.
There were many famous theaters in England during Shakespeare ‘s time. One of the most famous
theaters is closely associated with Shakespeare for two major reasons.
The Globe is the theater most often associated with William Shakespeare. He was part-
owner of the theater and had many of his plays produced there. Lumber was so expensive
during the time that the Globe was built with lumber that was transported to the building
site from-another theater that was destroyed. It was cheaper to pay to have the lumber
moved than to buy new lumber. The Globe was finished in 1599.
There are no sketches of how the Globe actually looked but they believe that it had larger
stages than the average theater at that time. It was a huge success with three to four
thousand men and women being ferried across the river Thames to see plays at the Globe
and two other nearby theaters.
Fourteen years later in 1613, the Globe burned to the ground. The thatched roof caught fire
when a cannon was fired during a performance of Shakespeare’s play, Henry VIII. The only
injury was that of a man whose pants were set on fire, but he was quick enough to put out
the flames with the ale he was drinking. A new and better Globe theater was built within
the same year. Shakespeare retired and gave up his part-ownership of the theater after the
theater was constructed.
47. The main idea of the paragraph is
A. The Globe Theater burned down in 1613.
B. The Globe is the theater most associated with William Shakespeare.
C. Building supplies were expensive during Shakespeare’s life.
D. Shakespeare retired from the theater when the new Globe theater was built.
48. The Globe Theater was built from
A. lumber from a theater that was being torn down.
B. thatched straw.
C. new lumber that was transported by boat to the building site
D. stones from an old theater that was destroyed.
Unit 12 -Page 14 of 19
TASK: Read the passage and answer the questions that follow.
TORNADOES: DEADLY STORMS
They pack enough power to pull up trees by their roots and smash houses to bits. They
can carry cars miles away from parking places and toss trains from their tracks. What are
Tornadoes are powerful, dangerous, twisting windstorms shaped like cones. They can
pack winds of up to 300 miles per hour!
Tornadoes come from thunderstorms and usually happen during the spring. Scientist
know that the strongest tornadoes come from giant thunderstorms called supercells. Those
huge storms can be 6 to 12 miles wide and 12 miles high.
Supercells form when warm, wet air crashes into cold, dry air. Inside a supercell is a
large, spinning column of air where a tornado is born.
Just before a tornado happens, the sky gets dark and there is often a loud roar, like a
freight train. Once a tornado forms, it acts like a giant vacuum cleaner, picking up
everything in its path.
Some tornadoes touch the ground for only a few seconds. Others race through towns in
minutes or travel across hundreds of miles for hours.
Scientists know that tornadoes are tricky storms. A tornado may destroy one house and
not touch a house across the street. “I’ve seen a refrigerator thrown several hundred yards,
while glasses on a nearby table weren’t touched,” said one scientist.
Some scientists are carefully studying tornadoes in the United States. Why? The United
States has more tornadoes than any other place on earth. Each year, about 1,000 tornadoes
are reported in this country.
The scientists are using special new instruments with computers to study tornadoes. One
instrument can tell whether air in a storm is moving forward and away at the same time.
That kind of movement can be a warning sign of a tornado.
Another instrument the scientists are using is called a Turtle. A Turtle is a short, very
heavy instrument that scientists place on the ground. When a tornado rolls over a Turtle, it
measures what goes on inside and outside the tornado.
Tracking tornadoes can be tough and dangerous work for scientists. They have to travel
fast to get close—but not too dose— to a tornado in time to study it. One scientist racing to a
tornado got the scare of his life when the tornado suddenly turned and started chasing him!
Scientist hope the new instruments will help them learn exactly what makes a tornado
form from a spinning column of air inside a supercell. They also hope their work will help
them increase the warning times for tornadoes—and help save many lives.
Unit 12 -Page 15 of 19
TASK: Imagine you are a scientist studying tornadoes. A TV reporter asks you some
questions about your work. Choose the letter to answer each question.
49.What can you tell me about tornadoes?
A. They can pack winds of up to 300 miles per hour.
B. They are real vacuum cleaners.
C They are powerful, dangerous, twisting windstorms.
50. What are supercells?
A They are new instruments we are using to study tornadoes.
B. They are giant storms that can be 6 to 12 miles wide.
C. They are storms that form when warm, wet air meets cold, dry air.
51. Why are you studying tornadoes in the United States?
A. Each year, about 1,000 tornadoes are reported here.
B. It has more tornadoes than any other place on Earth.
C. It is the only country that has tornadoes.
52. What do you hope to learn?
A. We hope to find out what makes a tornado form inside a supercell.
B. We hope to learn how to stop tornadoes from forming.
C. We hope to find ways of increasing the warning times for tornadoes.
Unit 12 Intensive Reading - Page 16 of 19
GUIDED PRACTICE EXERCISES
Grade 10 Subject: Literature
Benchmark LA.E.2.4.1 Analyzes the effectiveness of complex elements of plot, such as
settings, major events, problems, conflicts and resolutions.
THE DEAD MAN’S PLUM BUSH
“Impressions of an Indian Childhood”
by Gertrude Simmons Bonnin
Zitkala-Sa (Red Bird)
Adapted for the purposes of the handbook
One autumn afternoon, many people came streaming toward the dwelling of our near
neighbor. With painted faces, and wearing broad white bosoms of elk’s teeth, they hurried
down the narrow footpath to Haraka Wambdi’s wigwam. Young mothers held their children by
the hand, and half pulled them along in their haste. They overtook and passed by the bent old
grandmothers who were trudging along with crooked canes toward the centre of excitement.
Most of the young braves galloped hither on their ponies. Toothless warriors, like the old
women, came more slowly, though mounted on lively ponies. They sat proudly erect on their
horses. They wore their eagle plumes, and waved their various trophies of former wars.
In front of the wigwam a great fire was built, and several large black kettles of venison
were suspended over it. The crowd w ere seated about it on the grass in a great circle. Behind
them some of the braves stood leaning against the necks of their ponies, their tall figures draped
in loose robes which were well drawn over their eyes.
Young girls, with their faces glowing like bright red autumn leaves, their glossy braids
falling over each ear, sat coquettishly(1) beside their chaperons. It was a custom for young
women to invite some older relative to escort them to the public feasts. Though it was not an
iron law, it was generally observed.
Haraka Wambdi was a strong young brave, who had just returned from his first battle, a
warrior. His near relatives, to celebrate his new rank, were spreading a feast to which the whole
of the Indian village was invited.
Holding my pretty s triped blanket in readiness to throw over my shoulders, I grew
more and more restless as I watched the gay throng assembling. My mother was busily broiling
a wild duck that my aunt had that morning brought over.
coquettishly: flirting furiously
Unit 12 Intensive Reading - Page 17 of 19
“Mother, Mother, why do you stop to cook a small meal when we are invited to a
feast?” I asked, with a snarl in my voice.
“My child, learn to wait. On our way to the celebration we are going to stop at Chanyu’s
wigwam. His aged mother-in-law is lying very ill, and I think she would like a taste of this
Having once seen the suffering on the thin, pinched features of this dying woman, I felt
a momentary shame that I had not remembered her before.
On our way, I ran ahead of my mother, and was reaching o ut my hand to pick some
purple plums that grew on a small bush, when I was checked by a low “Sh!” from my mother.
“Why, Mother, I want to taste the plums!” I exclaimed, as I dropped my hand to my side
“Never pluck a single plum from this bush, my child, for its roots are wrapped around
an Indian’s skeleton. A brave is buried here. While he lived, he was so fond of playing the game
of striped plum seeds that, at his death, his set of plum seeds were buried in his hands. From
them sprang up this little bush.”
Eyeing the forbidden fruit, I trod lightly on the sacred ground, and dared to speak only
in whispers, until we had gone many paces from it. After that time, I halted in my ramblings
whenever I came in sight of the plum bush. I grew sober with awe, and was alert to hear a long-
drawn-out whistle rise from the roots of it. Though I had never heard with my own ears this
strange whistle of departed spirits, yet I had listened so frequently to hear the old folks describe
it that I knew I should recognize it at once.
The lasting impression of that day, as I recall it now, is what my mother told me about
the dead man’s plum bush.
1. What is the primary conflict between Bonnin and her mother throughout the story?
Support your answer with details and information from the story.
2. What can you conclude from this story about the importance of family and ancestral
relationships in Bonnin’s community? Support your answer with details and
information from the story.
Compare the different images of warriors in the story. How do these different images
relate to or contrast with one another? Support your answer with details and
information from the story.
Unit 12 Intensive Reading - Page 18 of 19
4. Although Bonnin mentions food several times throughout the story, she never eats.
Discuss the importance of food in the story in relation to the lessons she learns. Support
your answer with details and information from the story.
5. Because an Indian brave is buried beneath the plum bush, Bonnin does not eat from it,
and she changes her behavior when she is around the bush. For what reasons does she
act this way? Support your answer with details and information from the story.
6. From whose point of view is this story being told?
A. a wise mother, sharing her wisdom with her daughter
B. a dead warrior whose spirit lives in the plum bush
C. a young girl, enthusiastic and naive
D. an aged mother-in-law, sick and near death
Source: “A Handbook of Instructional Activities for the FCAT in Reading
State of Florida, Department of Education, 1999
Unit 12 Intensive Reading - Page 19 of 19