Book Info: Bravo Zulu, Samantha!

Publisher: Peachtree Publishing, March 2007.

Age group: 8-13

Jacket illustration: Loraine Joyner.

Genre: Historical Fiction

To buy this book

Bravo Zulu Samantha
Discussions and Activities:

Bravo Zulu, Samantha!

The Social Studies Connection

The Colonel is incredibly grumpy about having to give up flying. He has always lived life on the edge and is not about to just “sit around” now that he has been forced to leave the Air Force. As baby boomers approach their retirement years, we, as a culture, are beginning to give retirement a second look. Here is a chance for students to explore how different cultures treat their elderly and how our own culture is beginning to redefine “retirement” as we have known it.

Hands-On Activity: First, have a classroom discussion of other cultures, and their attitudes toward growing old. Some books to aid in this endeavor are: Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng, My Great-grandmother’s Gourd by Cristina Kessler, Ghost Wings by Barbara Joosse and Gugu’s House by Catherine Stock. Then ask each child to “interview” their grandparents or other people who are now retired. Have the children write about out how these “elderly” friends envision their golden years, how they see their retirement years differing from those of their parents, and what they would like to accomplish during that time.

The History Connection

Sam is not only interested in fun facts but also in what women have accomplished over the years in the aviation field. The history of women pilots is a fascinating one. While most students have heard of Amelia Earhart, there are many other women aviators whose advances in the field are largely unknown.

Hands-On Activity: Divide the class for a group project to research women aviators. Have each group work in your library to find information on and present a report about the following women: Major Wendy Clay, Baroness Raymonde de Larouche of France, Harriet Quimby, Beryl Markham and Jackie Cochran.

The Science Connection

All kids are fascinated with the Guiness Book of World Records, and why shouldn’t they be? Some of the records are amazing! Here are a few you can discuss in relation to how the people, animal or plants scientifically accomplish them: The greatest distance skated in 24 hours is 339 miles, 1200 yards. How would you train for this? What might affect the outcome of your attempt? The tallest tree standing today is a Menocino Tree, a redwood, standing 367.5 feet tall. What environmental effects may help this tree to keep its record? Which might prevent it from staying the tallest tree? The fastest land mammal is the cheetah with speeds as fast as 62 mph. Just how fast is that? What allows an animal to attain those speeds?

Hands-On Activity: As Sam did in the book, have the kids try setting a few records of their own. Here are some you can actually try in class: Like Sam, have them try to balance on one foot. See who can hold out the longest. The record is 76 hours, 40 minutes. Why is this so hard? Next have them try getting into a sitting position with their backs against the wall. Who can support this position for the longest time? The record is 11 hours, 5 minutes. Again, why is this difficult? Get a deck of playing cards. Have the kids line up. Have each kid throw a card. What was the distance of the card thrown the furtherest? The record is 67 yards. What affects how far the card can go? Take some dominoes and divide up into teams. How many dominoes can each team stack? The record is 555 on a single domino support! Again, what scientific properties can affect the outcome of this trial?

The Language Arts Connection

Sam’s grandfather loves using military terms. Many of these words have found their way into our everyday vocabulary. The term “Roger” is one. “Combat Zone” is another. Can you think of any others on your own?

Hands-On Activity: Have students identify and define these military terms, what their origin of use was and what they have now come to mean in our culture:

Cease fire
In the trenches