Waldo Ideas for Reports and Papers
by Robert A. Heinlein

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Compare the fictional genius Waldo with an actual genius, such as Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. Compare their working methods, their homes and lifestyle, the inventions they made, and the reasons they were investigating their areas of study.

2. Who developed the Canadarm used on the space shuttle? Where did these researchers work? Of what use is this device? Include an annotated drawing, showing how it is made.

3. Select a waldo which is of interest to you, whether it manipulates dangerous materials or very small objects. How does using this style of waldo benefit researchers or technicians? Are any people helped by the use of this waldo, as Waldo's health was improved in the story? Include an annotated drawing.

4. What kind of invention would you want to make? Who would use it and for what purpose? How would it be useful and improve people's lives or work? Describe the invention you would want to make in words and with a drawing. Is it entirely a fantasy and not practical? Or is this an invention you could actually make and should register with the patent office?

5. Does it matter to you what Waldo's reasons were for making inventions at the beginning of the story and why he worked on his major accomplishment? Does motivation add merit to what he accomplishes? Or is what he does more important than why he does it? Can good results come from research and invention that were done for bad motivation?

6. What is the proper duty of a genius? Does he or she have the same responsibilities of any other citizen? Do greater obligations necessarily accompany greater abilities?

7. Can an ordinary person out-perform a genius in practical, lasting results? 486 Waldo

8. What is the proper duty of a community of people to a genius? Is he or she due the benefits of resources and materials beyond what are available to any citizen? Is age or actual accomplishments to date a factor? What lasting benefits accrue from allowing a genius a forum in which to act?

9. How can a community of people encourage the development of both competence and genius among its citizens? What is already being done? What more can be done, with reasonable effort and resources? What could be done, with extraordinary contributions to this goal?

10. Who do you admire? What do you find admirable about this person or persons? Do they have unusual abilities or accomplishments? How much attention or admiration or praise do they receive for their efforts? In what ways would you want to be like them? In what ways would you rather be different?

11. What are the necessary stages in a spiritual journey? Does Waldo undergo a spiritual quest? What revelation does he achieve, and who benefits by it?