Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs
Book 4: The Space
Camp Adventure
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Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs: The Space Camp Adventure
Discussion Topics

Chapter 1

  1. Describe the night sky that Ziggy observed. How is his observation similar or different to the night sky where you live?

  2. Ziggy says, "They look like shiny pieces of candy floating up there, don't they?" Write another descriptive sentence that describes stars.

  3. Where had Ziggy been born? Where did he live now?

  4. Give an example of Ziggy's unusual eating habits.

  5. From their discussion, what do you think the boys already know about space travel?

  6. What job does Rico's father have? How often does Rico see his father?

  7. Make a list of the things you would take if you were going to Space Camp.

  8. Make a list of some of the things that you could not take. Why do you think Space Camp had those restrictions?

  9. Ziggy has had lots of practice on his favorite video game. Explain how important or helpful it might be for a potential astronaut to know how to play video games.

  10. Explain Ziggy's theories about invaders from other planets.

Chapter 2

  1. If you've ever been on a long trip in a car, describe what it's like. What is difficult about such a trip? What's enjoyable about it?

  2. How do Ziggy and his friends pass the time during the trip?

  3. Describe the rest stop in Jellico, Tennessee. How is it similar/ different from other rest stops you might have visited?

  4. Looking through the eyes of the boys, describe Saturn Five and Rocket Park at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

  5. If you were entering Space Camp for the first time, what thoughts would be going through your mind as you read these words: "Welcome to U.S. Space Camp and U.S. Space and Rocket Center-Through These Doors Enter America's Future Astronauts, Scientists and Engineers."?

  6. What lets you know that Stanley spent a lot of time working with young people?

  7. What do you think might be fun about living in the Habitat?

  8. What do you think might not be fun about living in the Habitat?

  9. Why do you think there is no television in the Habitat?

  10. Make a prediction: What do you think the other three boys in their room will be like?

    1. Describe Samantha. What did all employees of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center wear?

    2. What kinds of foods would be served at the camp? What might you expect when you think about food served at a camp? What kinds of foods would Ziggy prefer?

    3. Describe Neil and Alan. Who were they named for?

    4. Describe the Pathfinder shuttle. Draw a picture.

    5. Cubby has lots of knowledge and space information. What does this tell you about him?

    6. Cubby says there is no life on other planets. What do you think?

    7. What is the difference between real science and science fiction?

    8. Who were Abel and Baker? Tell their story.

    9. Why do you think visitors to Space Camp leave bananas?

    10. What do you think happens to the bananas each night?

    Chapter 4

    1. What kinds of activities did the boys participate in during their first day at Space Camp?

    2. What is the story that Ziggy makes up about the shuttle that sits outside?

    3. What would happen if the boys sneaked out of their rooms at night? Why do you think the rules are so strict?

    4. What did the Multi-Axis Trainer look like?

    5. What do you think it was like on the Multi-Axis Trainer simulator?

    6. Why are the pieces of apparatus called simulators instead of rides?

    7. What do you think is the purpose of the One-sixth Gravity chair?

    8. How many people have actually walked on the moon?

    9. Why do you think Ziggy like the Moonwalk Simulator so much?

    10. Describe what Ziggy finds on the floor. What do you think it is?

    Chapter 5

    1. What happens to liquid in space? What would happen if you cut yourself in space?

    2. How do astronauts go to the bathroom?

    3. What are MRE's? How would you like to eat only those for several days or weeks?

    4. How do astronauts sleep? Why can't they just float and sleep?

    5. What jobs are needed to run a space mission inside the space ship?

    6. What jobs are needed to run a space mission outside the space ship?

    7. What jobs are needed to run a space mission down on Earth?

    8. What job would you like to have if you were to go on a space mission? Why?

    9. Why does Stanley stress that a space mission needs a team more than it needs individuals?

    10. Make a prediction: What is the meaning of the strange object that Ziggy found.

    Chapter 6

    1. Why do you think launching model rockets is a good activity for Space Campers?

    2. How do you think the friendships between the campers in Team America were strengthened by completing their Mission?

    3. How fast does a space shuttle fly?

    4. What do you think the world looks like from space? Draw a picture.

    5. Why can't the lines that divide states and countries been seen from space? What does that tell you about our earth?

    6. What propels real rockets into the atmosphere?

    7. What do you think was used to propel the rockets of the campers?

    8. Why do you think some of the rockets failed to operate as they should?

    9. What does that tell you about real rockets?

    10. Make a prediction: Who is the woman who is watching them launch their rockets?

    Chapter 7

    1. Describe the astronaut the children met. What about her physical description might be good qualities for an astronaut?

    2. Why do you think Samantha is so excited about introducing a real astronaut to the campers?

    3. What is difference between what Ziggy expects an astronaut to do and what really happens?

    4. What background and training does one need to be an astronaut?

    5. What do you think it's like to observers on the ground when a shuttle takes off?

    6. What do you think it's like for an astronaut inside the ship when a shuttle takes off?

    7. What do the campers learn about women in space?

    8. What do the campers learn about Hispanics in space?

    9. What do the campers learn about African-Americans in space?

    10. What do you think the astronaut meant when she said, "I believe in possibilities."?

    Chapter 8

    1. Why is Ziggy hesitant to ask the astronaut about the object he found?

    2. Why would astronauts need to train on a G-Force Accelerator?

    3. Ms. Higginbotham says to Ziggy, "You're a dreamer, Ziggy, and that's probably the best thing in the world you can be." Why do you think she said that?

    4. She also said, "It's always been dreamers who change the world by making new and wonderful discoveries." Do you agree or disagree?

    5. What is the difference between Ziggy's ideas about the bananas and the squirrels and reality?

    6. The astronaut also says, " I love the way your group is so observant and asks so many good questions." Why are the qualities of observing and questioning good practices?

    7. Where did the object that Ziggy found come from?

    8. Give two reasons why it was is a good thing that he asked the astronaut about the stone?

    9. What was the story about the astronaut's grandmother and the finding of that stone?

    Chapter 9

    1. What do you think the seven boys who shared that room in the Habitat learned about each other during their time at Space Camp?

    2. What do the other boys think about the Black Dinosaurs Club and clubhouse?

    3. Why do you think Rico's father said the boys looked a couple of months older?

    4. In addition to space information, what do you think Team America learned during Space Camp?

    5. Describe the graduation ceremony.

    6. Summarize the astronaut's speech.

    7. What was surprising about the end of her speech?

    8. What award and title did Ziggy receive?

    9. How do you think the boys had changed from their visit to Space Camp?

    10. What was good about Ziggy's determination to believe and ask questions?

    Additional Activities

    A. Information to explore and discover.

    1. NASA

    2. The Shuttle Program

    3. Unmanned Space Flights

    4. Johnson Space Center--Houston, TX

    5. Kennedy Space Center--Orlando, Fl

    6. The Mercury Program

    7. The Gemini Program

    8. The Apollo Program

    9. The Mir Space Station

    10. The Challenger and Columbia Tragedies

    B. People to Know

    1. Robert Goddard

    2. Wernher Von Braun

    3. Yuri Gargarin

    4. Neil Armstrong

    5. Alan Shepherd

    6. John Glenn

    7. Sally Ride

    8. Guion Bluford

    9. Mae Jemison

    10. Joan Higginbotham

    C. Vocabulary

    1. Capsule

    2. Cosmonaut

    3. Lunar

    4. Solar

    5. Payload

    6. Gravity

    7. Orbiter

    8. Liftoff

    9. Countdown

    10. Propulsion

    11. Launch

    D. Jobs to explore:

    1. Astronaut

    2. Mission Specialist

    3. Engineer

    4. Computer Programmer

    5. Rocket Designer

    6. Space Camp Counselor

    7. Space Historian

    8. Flight Director

    9. Mission Scientist

    10. Shuttle Designer

    E. Writing Activities:

    1. Tell the story of the flight of a space shuttle, and describe its journey from before liftoff, during the flight, and the landing of it. Draw pictures to accompany your narrative.

    2. Write a story, with you as the main character, as you make a space journey.

    3. Make up a science fiction story. Draw a picture of any aliens.

    4. Write a real-life account of any actual space mission.

    5. Write a poem or story about being reaching for the stars.

    6. Write a mystery about outer space that includes clues. At the end of your story show how the clues are solved.

    7. Write a newspaper story that covers the adventures of Ziggy and his friends at Space Camp.

    8. Write a report about the animals who were sent on the earliest space flights.

    9. Write an account of the journey to become a real astronaut--from college to mission assignment.

    The Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs Series

    Book #1 - The Buried Bones Mystery

    Book #2 - Lost in the Tunnel of Time

    Book #3 - Shadows of Caesar's Creek

    Book #4 - The Space Camp Adventure

    Book #5 - The Backyard Animal Show

    Book #6 - Stars and Sparks on Stage