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Scat Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

Engaging your upper elementary or middle school students in a discussion about Hiaasen's environmental thriller 'Scat' can be a fascinating endeavor. Use these questions to guide your students through the character, plot, and theme of the book.

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen delivers another young adult literature gem with equal parts of humor and mystery in the novel Scat. He tackles relevant environmental issues through an engaging plot and colorful characters. Use these discussion questions with your upper elementary or middle school students to help them delve more deeply into the novel's characters and their intriguing journey through the swamps of Naples, Florida. You may want to engage students in a class discussion or provide a list of questions to student teams. Additionally, using a few of the questions as writing prompts can provide an excellent summative assessment.

  • Note: These questions are designed for use after the novel has been read.

Questions about Characters

  • Mrs. Starch is a very strict teacher. What is the students' opinion of her at the start of the novel? What positive personality traits do students overlook?
  • Compare and contrast the teaching styles of Mrs. Starch and Dr. Waxmo. What are their strengths? How are students' perceptions of them different? What do they learn about these two individuals by the end of the novel that changes their opinions?
  • Why is Duane Jr. accused of setting the fire during the field trip? Do you think this is a reasonable conclusion? Why or why not?
  • Marta and Nick endeavor to solve the mystery of Mrs. Starch's disappearance. Do you think they are a good team? What skills and knowledge do each of them bring to the partnership that helps them find answers?
  • Twilly Spree is an environmentalist who is focused on finding and saving the panther family. What actions does he take that show his concern for the panthers and the environment?
  • How does Mrs. Winship try to keep Smoke on a good path? How does she help him and his father bond? Do you think her efforts are successful? Why or why not?

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