Study Guide—The Science Project

Study Guide: The Science Project

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or outside resources. Seek and you shall find!

Chapters 1-5

1. Create a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast Nestor and Phil. Who would you rather have as a best friend? Support your answer.

2. Find examples of how Phil and Nestor demonstrate their intelligence. Describe how the boys react to each other. What surprised you about this?

3. What do we learn about Nestor from his attitude towards his mother? Be specific. How is Nestor’s attitude the same or different from your attitude toward your parent(s)?

4. List five science facts that Nestor learned in Chapter 5. Make a list of those facts in priority order with the most important fact at number one, and the least important at number five.

What is DNA? What family traits have you inherited? Which traits are different from your siblings? What accounts for these differences?

What is amber? Origin? Uses?  How can amber become electrically charged? When amber is rubbed against wool, silk or fur, does it become positively or negatively charged? Explain.

Give examples of how other materials can become electrically charged.

Complete this sentence: Like poles……… one another, while opposite poles……… .

What if?  Let’s pretend dinosaurs are alive once again on earth.Who would dominate—dinosaurs or humans? Would humans live in peace or in fear? Would dinosaurs be protected or hunted? How might humans protect themselves and their pets? What useful functions might dinosaurs provide? How would humans guarantee a plentiful food source for the dinosaurs? What dangers would dinosaurs encounter in a typical day? What dangers would human/dinosaur coexistence present? How realistic is the idea of a human/dinosaur shared world?

Which ancestors of dinosaurs thrive in today’s world? How did they escape extinction?

By the way, did all dinosaurs live at the same time and in the same place? Research your answers.

5. We begin to see a different side of Nestor. What surprises you most about his behavior? What predictions can you make about what might happen in the story?


Chapters 6-10

1. By now we’ve learned some of Nestor’s insecurities and concerns. What advice can you give Nestor to help him feel better about himself?

2. Pretend you are Nestor. Write an email to Nestor’s father explaining how his absence is affecting the family. Be specific.

3. At this point in the story we have a better understanding of the reasons for Nestor’s resentment of Kwan Min. Tell about a time when one of your classmates treated you unfairly. How did the other kids react to this? What steps did your teacher take to make this bad behavior stop? Is Ms. Costa doing enough?

4. Think about a classmate who bothered the other kids in the class. Who were his/ her victims? Why do you think these kids were chosen as targets? How was this problem solved? What would you have done if you were in charge?

5. What do we learn about Nestor from his care and training of Hector?

Write an ACROSTIC poemto describe Hector. An acrostic poem spells out the subject vertically, one letter on each line. A word or phrase beginning with that letter is used to tell about the subject. Brainstorm appropriate words to use in your description. A thesaurus will be helpful.

Example of Acrostic Poem
D evoted

Now write an acrostic poem for Hector, the cockroach.


Chapters 11-15

1. Describe Nestor’s relationship with his mother, Ms. Costa, Holly and Jasmine. In your opinion, why is Nestor’s relationship with Jasmine so different from that of the other females in the story?

2. We now know Nestor’s strong feelings of insecurity. Analyze how the males in his life—his father, cousins, and Kwan Min add to these feelings of inadequacy. Think about how Phil’s relationship is the exception to this pattern. What changes to make Nestor question Phil’s loyalty? Give specific examples.

3. Pretend you are Nestor. Create a science log entry for one day showing the care and feeding of Hector.

4. Kwan Min and Jasmine have a plan of their own. Make a prediction about what it might be. Look at the book cover for clues.

5. With his eyes cast down, Nestor stares at in the science table, and for the first time notices the scratches in its surface. How does this serve as a metaphor for Nestor’s life?


Chapters 16-20

1.What are the ten most popular pets in the United States? Define habitat. Design and draw a natural habitat for a parakeet, snake, hamster, toad, and cockroach. Which creatures, if any, can live together? Which creature is the most flexible in its habitat choice? Support your answers.

Kwan Min and Nestor are now both in trouble at school. Pretend you are Kwan Min. Tell your parents all about Nestor, his teasing and your plan of revenge. What do you believe their reaction would be after they hear the whole story?

2.Pretend you are Nestor’s mom and pretend Ms. Costa called to tell you about the events of the last few days. Write an email message to your husband in Alaska telling him about Nestor’s recent behavior and what happened at Nestor’s school today.

3.Research the elements of a newspaper article. Answering the questions Who? What ?Why? When? Where? How? write a newspaper article describing the scene in Ms. Costa’s classroom when the toad chased Hector, the cockroach, around the room.

Thinkabout Phil’s recent behavior. Chart the changes in Phil’s attitude toward Nestor showing the cause-effect relationship between Nestor’s actions and Phil’s reactions. Is Phil justified in not always supporting his best friend, no matter what he does? Explain.

Match each character to the adjective that best describes their personality. Give examples to support your choices.

Characters: Nestor, Phil, Kwan Min, Holly, Jasmine

Adjectives: gentle, flexible, immature, straight-thinking, assertive

Analyze the five characters from the story. Design a T-shirt for each character. Include an animal and five adjectives to represent each personality.

Discusshow Kwan Min’s behavior surprised you. Why?

4.Nestor and Phil’s relationship has changed by the end of the book. In your opinion, is it for the better or worse? Compare and contrast their interactions from the beginning, middle and end. Make a judgment call: In what ways might the new terms of their relationship be a healthier outcome? Make a gratitude list for Nestor including at least five things in order of priority with the most important thing at number one.

Write a new ending for the book. Nestor and Kwan Min are in Mr. Christiano’s office. Take it from there. Be sure to include Nestor’s relationship with Kwan Min and Phil. You can include Mrs. Ramirez in the change if you like. You will probably write two chapters to cover the complete ending.

5.Think about a person who constantly teases or bullies you. What steps might you take to change the situation? Which adults and peers can you count on for help? Make a constructive plan of action to help yourself. Research. Analyze. Plan. Do.

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Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

March 2023
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