Feel free to use any (or all) of these ideas as you take your class through Madeleine L'Engle's classic novel. There are questions and ideas to spark research on space along with some hands-on activity ideas to get your students excited.
Researching Travel Through Space
The "tesseract" has to do with using multiple dimensions, beyond the conventional three, to make travel across huge distances possible in a very short amount of time. Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin use this method of travel, assisted by three very unusual ladies, to go to the planet Uriel, to find Meg and Charles Wallace's father.
Here are some questions you could ask your class to research about space, as you align a science unit with reading "A Wrinkle in Time":
- The sky looks blue where we are. Why is it black when you're out in space?
- The space shuttle could travel to the space station, and orbit the earth. Why can't it go to the moon, or Mars?
- The space shuttles are about to stop making their trips. What is the next plan for NASA, and what are its goals?
- If your space suit ripped while you were on a space walk, what would happen to you? Why?
- If we did take the space shuttle out to other planets, how long would it take to get to Venus?
- When will humans be able to go to Mars?
- How long will the sun remain its current color and size?
You can assign these questions as a Web Quest, or you can use this opportunity to teach your students how to do research in books and magazines, depending on the grade level and academic proficiency of your class.
Creative Responses: Fun Activities
As you get close to the end of the novel with your class, give your class the choice of one of these creative responses to the story. You can also give them the option of working independently or in groups of two or three.
- Using brown paper bags or socks, make puppets for each of the major characters in the story. The final draft of the script should be typed using a word processor, and if the show will be performed by a group, each group member needs his or her own copy of the script, with his or her parts highlighted.
- Design a board game called "A Wrinkle in Time." Use the layout of the board, spaces, and activity cards to reflect the story's setting, major events, setting, and characters. In addition to the board, provide the game's rules.
- Use the Puzzlemaker website to make a crossword puzzle. Answers should include important characters, places, and motifs from the story, as well as any vocabulary words or science-based vocabulary that you've learned in this unit.
- Design a movie poster for "A Wrinkle in Time." Your illustration should reflect one of the most important events of the movie, or an important idea in the movie. Think about which actors you would cast in the major roles, and put their names on the posters. Look online for examples of posters for your favorite movies.