By Homer Hickam Jr.
Major Themes to keep
in mind while reading:
development of Auk I – XXXI
relationship between Homer and his father
importance of Homer’s mother and his teachers
development of Homer’s character…. What signs of his growing up do you
Lee, O’dell, Tony, Sherman, Jim, Quentin (Rocket Boys)
- BCMA –
Big Creek Missile Agency
Timeline for Project:
August 25th – Read chapters 1 – 4 and answer
questions 1-5 by Friday, 8/28
August 28th – Read chapters 5 – 8 and answer
questions 6 – 9 by Monday, 8/31
August 31st – Read chapters 9 – 12 and answer
questions 10 – 14 by Wednesday, 9/2
September 2nd – Read chapters 13 – 18 and answer
questions 15 – 21 by Friday, 9/4
September 4th – Read chapters 19 – 22 and answer
questions 22 – 23 by Tuesday, 9/8
September 8th – Read chapters 23 – Epilogue and
finish questions by Friday, 9/11
September 11th – Final Project Options – due
Chapters 1 – 4
Coalwood. Explain the mine’s
influence on the town.
Sonny’s family life, especially his relationship with his father as seen
in the beginning chapters.
was the town’s reaction to Sputniks I and II? What was Sonny’s reaction?
Sonny’s first rocket attempt. What
was his parents’ reaction?
Elise’s feelings about the mine.
What did she want for Sonny?
Chapters 5 - 8
becomes friendly with Quentin, a boy not popular. Explain their relationship.
the contrast Emily Sue sees between Sonny and his brother Jim.
help did Mr. Bykovski give Sonny and how did it affect Mr. Bykovski?
how Sonny managed to get materials for the blockhouse.
Chapters 9 - 12
the help Jake Mosby gave Sonny.
effect did the football suspension have on the rocket boys?
Sonny’s father’s motivation in taking him to the mine. What was the result?
- “I had
a clear vision of my future in space, but the life I led in Coalwood
sometimes seemed to blur.” Explain
was Rocket Candy?
Chapters 13 - 18
did the boys’ work on rockets change their work in school?
was ironic in Sonny’s success in getting a calculus class in the high
does Quentin think Sonny is the key to college for him and the other
are Sonny’s feelings for his father at this point in the book?
and all the children of Coalwood belong to all the people. It’s an unwritten law, but that’s the
way everybody feels.” Explain this
is no place to be weak, but if you are, keep it yourself and get the hell
out of here as soon as you can.”
Explain this quote.
Sonny’s reaction to the mine accident.
Chapters 19 - 22
was Mr. Fuller? How did the town
manage to oppose him?
the effect of the strike on Sonny and his family.
Chapters 23 -
the science fairs the boys won and explain the effect on the town.
finally happened to each of the rocket boys?
Final Project Options
Due Monday, September 21
How would you describe Sonny’s father? How would you describe the relationship
between Homer Sr. and his wife, Elise?
How would you characterize Sonny’s relationship with each of his
parents? How do these relationships
affect Sonny and his desire to build rockets and leave Coalwood? Write a 5 paragraph essay describing your
analysis of these relationships. Make
sure to include 3 examples from the book to answer each of these questions.
Miss Riley, the physics teacher, seems to regard education
as a challenge and adventure. Sonny
rises to meet the formidable tasks she sets before him. He writes, “I had discovered that learning
something, no matter how complex, wasn’t hard when I had a reason to want to
know it.” Miss Riley motivates Sonny and
the rocket boys to keep their dreams alive.
Write a 5 paragraph essay discussing Miss Riley, her view on education,
and how she plays an important role in the lives of the rocket boys. What other factors, besides Miss Riley,
motivated Sonny to do his best? Be sure
to include at least 3 examples from the book to illustrate how Miss Riley affected
the lives of the Rocket Boys.
Now that you have read the book Rocket Boys, check
out the movie “October Sky” from your local video store. Write a 5 paragraph essay comparing and
contrasting the book to the movie. You
must include 3 examples of how the movie and book are similar and 3 examples of
how the movie and book differ. What
liberties did “Hollywood”
take with the script? What changes did
they make? What facts did they keep the
same? How would you have changed the
movie to make it more or less like the book?