Whirligig Ideas for Reports and Papers
by Paul Fleischman

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Fleischman uses many literary devices in Whirligig. Allusion is one that is very readily found. As you read the story, list each allusion you find, note the page number, indicate the source of the allusion (you may have to do some research to find the source for some), explain its meaning in Whirligig, categorize the sources, and then share your findings.

2. Create a chart demonstrating the cost of destruction from, and deaths caused from alcohol-related driving accidents. Collect newspaper articles about alcohol- related accidents. Use them to create a collage to display with your chart.

3. Brent's blood alcohol level was .11. How is blood alcohol level determined? What does alcohol do to the body, nervous system, brain?

4. Interview someone in the juvenile justice system in your community—a juvenile judge, a social worker, or a police officer—and find out about probation. Find answers to these questions and others you may think of. Why was Brent not tried in a courtroom with a jury? Why would a judge give him probation instead of a jail sentence for a wrongful death? Why did the judge allow Mrs. Zamora to decide Brent's fate? Did he go to detention? What do the laws in your state say about juvenile offenders? Either audio tape or video tape your interview to share with others.

5. In Washington state Brent saw Mt. Olympus across the water and remembered the story of a Greek god. He compares his own atonement to that required of the god. Read the Greek myth he referred to. Create a Venn diagram or chart and compare his atonement with that of the god.

6. Create a chart or a Venn diagram and compare yourself to Brent.

7. Design a whirligig to honor someone who is special to you. Build it and share it with your classmates.

8. Use a map of the United States and find each of the four locations Brent chose for the whirligigs. Do some research about one of those...

(The entire section is 500 words.)