Provide a long piece of saran wrap OR a pair of cheap sunglasses for each student. If using saran wrap, instruct students to use the saran to cover their eyes only by tucking it behind their ears (like glasses). Then have students use about ½ tsp of petroleum jelly to cover the area over their eyes. This will obscure their vision incredibly. Pass out the copies of the difficult maze, and ask students to complete the maze – only give them 60 seconds. This will heighten their anxiety. Some students may complete it, but most won’t. This activity is meant to provide students with the experience of visual sensory overload. Have students debrief in their groups about what made the activity difficult and why.
Activity two – article and music
Instruct students to pick one person to read the article while the remaining members must take notes. This article is a purposefully complex article by Temple Grandin about consciousness in animals and humans with Autism. Most students will not understand the article, purposefully. As students begin this activity, play extremely loud, aggressive music. Not only will this act as a distraction, it will provide excessive auditory input which leads to auditory sensory overload. Have students debrief in their groups about what made the activity difficult and why.
Next, debrief as a class. Explain the concept of sensory overload (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_overload) and how people on the Autism Spectrum often have difficulty with every-day tasks because of sensory overload.
Have students take the Autism Quotient assessment. Most students will exhibit “symptoms” of Autism without realizing that these habits of theirs could be construed as “symptoms” of Autism (combined with other issues, and only diagnosed by a trained medical professional!). Discuss how these factors can be contained within all of our personalities and make us more connected rather than separated.
“Do Animals and People with Autism Have True Consciousness?” by Temple Grandin
Directions: Read each statement carefully. Mark the box that best represents your answer.
I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.
I prefer to do things the same way over and over again.
If I try to imagine something, I find it very easy to create a picture in my mind.
I frequently get so strongly absorbed in one thing that I lose sight of other things.
I often notice small sounds when others do not.
I usually notice car number plates or similar strings of information.
Other people frequently tell me that what I’ve said is impolite, even though I think it is polite.
When I’m reading a story, I can easily imagine what the characters might look like.
I am fascinated by dates.
In a social group, I can easily keep track of several different people’s conversations.
I find social situations easy.
I tend to notice details that others do not.
I would rather go to a library than to a party.
I find making up stories easy.
I find myself drawn more strongly to people than to things.
I tend to have very strong interests, which I get upset about if I can’t pursue.
I enjoy social chitchat.
When I talk, it isn’t always easy for others to get a word in edgewise.
I am fascinated by numbers.
When I’m reading a story, I find it difficult to work out the characters’ intentions.
I don’t particularly enjoy reading fiction.
I find it hard to make new friends.
I notice patterns in things all the time.
I would rather go to the theater than to a museum.
It does not upset me if my daily routine is disturbed.
I frequently find that I don’t know how to keep a conversation going.
I find it easy to ‘read between the lines’ when someone is talking to me.
I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than on the small details.
I am not very good at remembering phone numbers.
I don’t usually notice small changes in a situation or a person’s appearance.
I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored.
I find it easy to do more than one thing at once.
When I talk on the phone, I’m not sure when it’s my turn to speak.
I enjoy doing things spontaneously.
I am often the last to understand the point of a joke.
I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face.
If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly.
I am good at social chitchat.
People often tell me that I keep going on and on about the same thing.
When I was young, I used to enjoy playing games involving pretending with other children.
I like to collect information about categories of things (e.g., types of cars, birds, trains, plants).
I find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to be someone else.
I like to carefully plan any activities I participate in.
I enjoy social occasions.
I find it difficult to work out people’s intentions.
New situations make me anxious.
I enjoy meeting new people.
I am a good diplomat.
I am not very good at remembering people’s date of birth.
I find it very easy to play games with children that involve pretending.
Creating voice in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
In an interview, Mark Haddon said that he wanted to write the whole book in Christopher’s voice, but that he realized that he had to find a way to do this while keeping the character of Christopher realistic. He said:
“… if Christopher were real he would find it very hard, if not impossible, to write a book. The one thing he cannot do is put himself in someone else’s shoes, and the one thing you have to do if you write a book is put yourself in someone else’s shoes. The reader’s shoes. You’ve got to entertain them, and there’s no way he could have done that.
It took me a while to figure out that puzzle. The answer I came up with is having him be a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories. That way, he doesn’t have to put himself in the mind of the reader. He just has to say, ‘I enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories and I’ll do something similar to that.’”
Usually when we talk about ‘voice’ we mean the noise that a person makes when they speak or sing. ‘Voice’ in a novel or a poem means the way a writer, or a character created by the writer, expresses themselves. This can include the language they use, the attitudes they have and the ‘tone’ (for example sarcastic or sad). The voice in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is Christopher’s voice, but of course he is not a real person. So how does Mark Haddon make us believe in Christopher’s voice? Mark Haddon explains:
What I started with was the image of a dog with a gardening fork in it. Then I got Christopher’s toneless voice.
This ‘toneless voice’ is typical of someone with Asperger Syndrome. In real life this means that the voice of someone with Asperger Syndrome can sound monotonous – in other words their feelings are not expressed in their voice.
Explore the scene in chapter 53 when Christopher’s father explains that Christopher’s mother has died. Start from, “Father said he didn’t know what kind of heart attack” through “and I beat her 247 points to 134.”
In you group, complete the following steps and be prepared to discuss:
1. Try reading it aloud in different tones of voice, for example passionately, angrily, sadly, unemotionally. Which best suits the way it is written? Why?
2. Look at the word choice in the passage. Do you notice anything about the variety of word choice that Haddon uses to create Christopher’s voice?
3. There are four main types of sentences – statements, exclamations, questions and commands. Talk about whether Haddon uses a variety of sentence types for Christopher and then think about how he has used sentence types to help create Christopher’s voice.
4. When you have finished the above steps, work together as a group to write a one paragraph statement explaining how Mark Haddon gives Christopher a voice. You could use the sentence starters suggested here to help you:
The way Mark Haddon uses … makes Christopher’s voice sound …
By using … the writer gives the impression that …
When Christopher … the reader thinks …
Another way Haddon creates a realistic voice for Christopher is by …
The use of … helps the reader to imagine …
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time pt 1 quiz
Directions. Answer one question from each section in complete sentences. Circle the number of the question you select. Make sure to answer in complete sentences and answer all parts of the questions. Include textual evidence as requested.
Why is Christopher writing a murder mystery novel?
Explain the whole situation concerning Christopher’s mother’s death.
Why does Christopher go into detail explaining the Monty Hall Problem? How does he relate to this?
Explain the difference between Christopher’s Good Day, a Quite Good Day, a Super Good Day, and a Bad Day. Why might this system seem silly to someone other than Christopher?
Describe, in detail, the two reasons why Christopher finds people confusing. Include textual evidence to support your response.
Describe, in detail, Christopher’s explanation of his memory. Include textual evidence to support your response.
Christopher’s Journey to London and Back
During Christopher’s journey to London to find his mother, he has to overcome sensory obstacles. And when he learns he’s returning to Swindon, he has a major emotional obstacle to overcome. Explain an obstacle for each of the senses, and then explain the big emotional obstacle.
Module 10 Name:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time pt 1 quiz
Directions. Answer one question from each section. Circle the number of the question you select. Make sure to answer in complete sentences and answer all parts of the questions. Include textual evidence as requested.
1. Where does Christopher find his book? What else does he find there?
2. Why can’t Christopher trust his father?
1. What is the second mystery Christopher must now solve?
2. Describe the similarities that Christopher points out between humans and computers and between humans and animals.
1. What is Occam’s theory? How does Christopher apply it to the ideas he discusses in this section of the novel? Include evidence from the novel to support your answer.
2. What is the difference between Christopher’s observations and “ordinary” people’s observations? Include evidence from the novel to support your answer.
fence. Then their mind will begin to wander. But if Christopher is on that train, he’ll calculate the whole scene: 19
cows—15 of them black and white, four brown and white. Thirty-one houses visible in the village in the distance, plus one
church without a spire. The landscape is highest to the northeast. It’s exhausting just hearing him describe it, but it gives
some sense of what it must be like to be so attuned to minute details.
"I see everything," Christopher says.
The “curious incident” mentioned in the show’s title is Christopher’s discovery of a dead dog in a neighbor’s yard. He
wants to find out who killed the dog and left it there, but he’s quickly marked as a suspect himself. The event prompts
Christopher to uncover some upsetting family secrets related to his parents’ reactions to their own shortcomings, and their
despair that they can’t properly care for their son.
The moments in the show that focused on the parents’ frustrations were all too familiar for us. Ed, Christopher’s
well-meaning, working-class dad (played with lumbering sensitivity by Ian Barford), whips painfully between tenderness
toward his child and fist-clenching fury over his inability to help him navigate the world. Ed and his estranged wife, Judy
(Enid Graham), have become trapped by their own sense of discouragement, and find it hard to imagine a more hopeful
future for themselves and for Christopher.
We’ve been there—we’re forever backtracking there, it seems—with Sam. But we left the show buoyed, at least for the
night. The show ends on an up note (spoiler alert): Christopher celebrates, in his own curious way, his successes. Against
the odds, he’s aced a major exam, survived a harrowing trip to London, reconciled with his mum and solved the mystery of
the death of Wellington, the dog.
“Does that mean I can do anything?” he asks.
For the parents of a child on the spectrum, the true answer might not be the one we want. But it’s our continuing job to help
Sam understand his own mind. As much as we’ve struggled, seeing such an inspired interpretation of my son’s baffling
affliction gave us the gift of a necessary reminder: Sam, like Christopher, is the one trying to find his bearings at the center
of his own curious world.
Module 14 Group Member Names:
The Custody Battle - Should Christopher live with Mother or Father? As a class you are going to prepare and take part in a hearing to decide whether Christopher should live with Mother or Father.
You will work in small groups representing one person in Christopher’s life. Remember, this is not necessarily your opinion, but rather the opinion of the person you are representing.
A social worker, representing Christopher
Not very interested in what is good for the parents. Christopher’s needs are most important.
Siobhan, Christopher’s teacher
Likely to be mainly concerned for Christopher but has seen Father do a good job in caring for his son.
Mr. Jeavons, the school psychologist
Considers what would be best for Christopher’s mental health. Will explain the need for a child on the Autism spectrum to have stability.
A lawyer representing Mother
Will present the case for Mother to have full custody as strongly as possible.
A lawyer representing Father
Will present the case for Father to have full custody as strongly as possible.
Mrs. Alexander, a concerned neighbor
Probably the closest person Christopher has to a friend. Hasn’t had a good impression of Father.
Each group will prepare a one-minute explanation of your choice. Support your opinions with evidence taken from the novel. You need to take into account practical considerations, such as suitable accommodation and arrangements for education, as well as emotional considerations.
After all six contributions, take a vote on whether you think Christopher should live with his mother or his father, or whether they should have joint custody
Key Ideas and Details
In addition to level 3, students select multiple examples to accurately support their argument.
Students select a specific example from the novel to accurately support their argument.
Students select vague details from the novel that loosely support their argument.
Students select incorrect or irrelevant, details from the novel to attempt to support their argument.
Student does not complete the assignment OR work turned in does not match the expectation of the assignment.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
At the end of the novel, Christopher states:
And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything. -221
Additionally, in regards to the end of the novel, Mark Haddon remarks:
How readers react to Christopher’s last words, ‘I can do anything’ depends on them. Is it [a fantasy]? Is he going to become a university maths professor, or is he going to spend the rest of his life in social care?
(Level 2) First, fill in the chart below with examples from the novel to support Christopher becoming a math professor AND him relying on social services for his entire life. Your goal is to come up with as many examples you can think of to support both possibilities.
Christopher becomes a math professor
Christopher relies on social services for his entire life
(Level 3) Then, using your awareness and understanding of those with various perspectives, pick a side. Determine your claim if you think Christopher will become a math professor or rely on social services for the rest of his life. On the back, write a clear argument supporting your claim. Please be thorough and specific. (Level 4) Incorporate textual evidence from the novel (including page #) to support your claim.