Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures #1: The Mount Rushmore Calamity Teaching Guide

Use the reading comprehension questions and classroom activities below to craft a lesson plan about the history of the American West and Mount Rushmore. You’ll surely strike gold with these creative teaching ideas!

About the Book

Ever since Stanley was flattened by a bulletin board, he has been able to do things that no one else can. Now he’s off on a new series of adventures that span the globe! In this first installment, Stanley and his family travel to Mount Rushmore, where he learns about Black Hills wildlife, the gold rush, and the Wild West—while still finding time to meet a real-life cowgirl and search a gold mine.

Comprehension and Discussion Questions

  • What state is Mount Rushmore in? Which direction would you have to travel to get to Mount Rushmore from where you live?
  • How old are the gold mines Stanley and Arthur see? How old are the oldest buildings or other manmade structures in your town or city?
  • Give at least two reasons why the title of this book is The Mount Rushmore Calamity.
  • What important skills do Stanley and Arthur learn while exploring? On what other kinds of adventures might they use these skills?
  • Describe ways Stanley and Arthur work together to solve problems. Do they always work well together? Why or why not? Do you work best alone or with other people? Explain.

Extension Activities

  • Design Your Own Mount Rushmore. Ask students to decide which four people (famous or otherwise) they would want to immortalize on their own Mount Rushmore. Have students create a drawing or sculpture of their monument and include a brief explanation of why they chose those specific people.
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It! In chapter seven, Arthur pins a newspaper article with the headline “brother heroes!” to the bulletin board. What might this article say about Stanley’s and Arthur’s adventures? Have students generate a list of the brothers’ adventures and then write compelling newspaper stories about them. Encourage each student to draw a picture to go with his or her article. Construct a binder that includes all your students’ “brother heroes!” articles.
  • Black Hills Vacation. After researching tourism for Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills, have students create travel brochures, highlighting what they think are the most interesting features of the region. In their brochures, students should include places of interest, recreation activities, historic facts, geographic information, and illustrations.
  • Gold Rush Time Line. Help your students learn more about the nineteenth-century gold rushes, recognizing the various waves of migration to Georgia, California, Colorado, South Dakota, and Alaska. Students should also learn about the Black Hills gold rush’s diverse participants, including Calamity Jasper’s Lakota ancestors. As a class, construct a gold rush time line, labeling and illustrating key events from this period of U.S. history.

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Teaching guide prepared by Laura Williams McCaffrey, a library consultant and children’s book author, East Montpelier, Vermont.


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Art by Macky Pamintuan. Based on the character, stories, and adventures of Flat Stanley created by the late Jeff Brown.
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