Lesson 2: Character’s Motive
- Learning Goal
- Draw a conclusion about characters’ possible motives for committing a crime, in order to determine which characters are suspects.
- Approximately 2 Days (40-45 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: What Motivates Me Worksheet, Characters Worksheet (Student Packet, pp. 4-5), Suspects Chart Sample - Save for use with Lessons 4 and 5, Suspects Worksheet (Student Packet, p. 18) – Save for use with Lessons 4 and 5
Not Provided: Chart paper, markers, Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy by Wendelin Van Draanen
Before the Lesson
Read Chapters 9-13; Complete Student Packet Worksheets for Chapters 9-13
Activation & Motivation
Ask students why they play sports, why they help others, or why they clean their rooms. Students may respond that they want to stay in shape, contribute to their community, or get an allowance. Explain to students that playing sports, helping others, or cleaning your room is an action. Every action that someone does has a motivation, or a reason why they do it. Is there any action you take that has no motivation? Even being lazy or sleeping late has the motivation to relax or avoid doing work! There is always a motivation behind our (in)actions. Hand out the What Motivates Me? Worksheet and ask students to record their motivations for each of the scenarios on the worksheet. Have students share their actions and motivations with the class.
will define motivation as a purpose or reason for an action (record the definition on chart paper). It is closely related to our mystery term “motive.” I will explain that a “motive” is a reason for committing a crime or taking a questionable action. A character that has a motive is a suspect. Figuring out a character’s motive for committing a crime or causing a problem is important to solving a mystery.
I am going to figure out which characters from Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy have a motive to commit the crime of killing LeBrandi. A motive can be anything from jealousy, to hatred, to money, to guilt, to something as silly as “she snored too loud at night.” Remember: a character may or may not have a motive. If a character has a motive to commit a crime, we can consider them a suspect. To determine a character’s possible motive, I will first note the character’s description, physical and emotional traits, actions, and interactions with other characters. I will also think about why the character might want to kill LeBrandi.
I will create a Suspects Chart and will use this chart to help me keep track of the characters in the book and their possible motives. I will think about the characters in this book, and I will begin filling in the chart with the character’s name, description, suspicious thoughts or actions, and possible motives. Note: See Suspects Chart Sample for a sample chart and responses.
I will first fill out information about Dominique Windsor on the Suspects Chart by thinking about what I know about her and reviewing the Characters Worksheet in the Student Packet. (See pages 4-5 in the Student Packet.) I will fill in her description: pretty actress, short blond hair, Sammy’s mother, Max’s future wife. Then, I will fill in suspicious thoughts or actions. I recall that Dominique had disappeared from the room when Sammy heard banging from next door. I will write this down in the suspicious actions box. I also recall that Dominique often lied about things, such as her age, birthday, having Sammy as her daughter, and her acting experience. These seem like suspicious actions to me, so I will write these notes in the suspicious thoughts or actions box. I also recall that Dominique said she would do anything to get the role of Jewel, so I’ll record this as a suspicious thought or action.
I can use all of the information I have recorded about Dominique to draw a conclusion about her possible motive such as, “Dominique’s motive for killing LeBrandi was so she could get the role of Jewel.” Since Dominique has a strong motive, we can consider her a possible suspect. I will record this information on the Suspects Chart. Note: You will need to save the Suspects Chart for use with Lessons 4 and 5.
Ask: "How do I know the difference between a character who is a suspect and a character who is not a suspect?" Students should respond that a suspect is a character with a reason or motive for committing a crime. You can find a character’s motive by thinking about the character’s descriptions, thoughts, and actions. A character without a motive or suspicious information usually won’t be a suspect.
will record information about the other actresses that lived in Max’s house, Opal and Tammy, on our Suspects Chart to determine if they are suspects in the murder of LeBrandi. Note: See Suspects Chart Sample for additional examples to chart during the Guided Practice. We will look for details in the book and recall specific descriptions about each of these female characters. We will also refer to our Characters Worksheet in our Student Packet for any information about the characters that we have written down from previous chapters. We will write the information down on our Suspects Chart.
We will look at the character descriptions, suspicious thoughts or actions, and their connections to other characters in the book to draw a conclusion about a possible motive for each character. If we believe a character does not have a motive to commit the crime, we will write “No Motive” and “Not a Suspect” in the “Possible Motive” Box. Note: You will need to save the Suspects Chart for use with Lessons 4 and 5.
will continue to fill out your Suspects Worksheet in your Student Packet for the remaining main characters: Hali, Reena, Inga, and Max. (See page 18 in the Student Packet.) You will look at your characters’ descriptions and note their possible connections to LeBrandi and other characters in the book to draw a conclusion about a possible motive for each character. If you believe a character does not have a motive for the crime, write “No Motive” and “Not a Possible Suspect” in the “Possible Motive” Box.
will discuss the characters that we determined to be suspects and their possible motives for killing LeBrandi. We will take a class vote about which one of our suspects killed LeBrandi. We will record the students’ names under each suspect name on our class chart and we will refer back to the suspect chart at the end of the book to see who was right about the murderer.
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Build Student Vocabulary interrogate
|Tier 2 Word: interrogate|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||Sammy speaks to Tammy to try to find out more about LeBrandi’s murder. Tammy says, “‘Now would you go interrogate someone else?’”|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||Interrogate means to question someone for a long time for an official purpose. When Tammy asks Sammy to interrogate someone else, it means that she thought Sammy should ask someone else questions about LeBrandi’s murder.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word interrogate with me: interrogate.|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||The police interrogated the suspect for 5 hours. I interrogated the witness for evidence.|
|Students provide examples||Why do you think Sammy interrogated Tammy? Start by saying, “I think Sammy interrogated LeBrandi because ___________________________.”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? interrogate|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||detained, jurisdiction, menacing, incompetent, deliverance, petered, petrified, stagnant, lure, eliminated|