Standards Correlations

R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.6, R.7, W.2, SL.1, L.4, L.6. 

Learning Objective

Students will read a nonfiction article and identify text evidence to support conclusions drawn from the story.

Key Skills

text evidence, text features, vocabulary, central idea and details, inference, synthesizing, author’s purpose, compare and contrast, critical thinking, making connections, informational writing

Complexity Factors

Purpose: The article explains how people came to believe in Bigfoot and why we’re drawn to stories of mythical creatures.

Structure: The text begins with the story of an alleged Bigfoot sighting. It then gives other examples of strange creatures around the world and discusses how and why these stories catch on.

Language: The language is conversational. Difficult words are defined in the vocabulary box.

Knowledge Demands: Several geographic locations are mentioned.

Levels

Lexile Level: 600L-700L

Guided Reading Level: Q

DRA Level: 40

Standards Correlations

R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.6, R.7, W.2, SL.1, L.4, L.6. 

Learning Objective

Students will read a nonfiction article and identify text evidence to support conclusions drawn from the story.

Key Skills

text evidence, text features, vocabulary, central idea and details, inference, synthesizing, author’s purpose, compare and contrast, critical thinking, making connections, informational writing

Complexity Factors

Purpose: The article explains how people came to believe in Bigfoot and why we’re drawn to stories of mythical creatures.

Structure: The text begins with the story of an alleged Bigfoot sighting. It then gives other examples of strange creatures around the world and discusses how and why these stories catch on.

Language: The language is conversational. Difficult words are defined in the vocabulary box.

Knowledge Demands: Several geographic locations are mentioned

Levels

Lexile Level: 600L-700L

Guided Reading Level: Q

DRA Level: 40

Lesson Plan: Hunting a Monster

Essential Questions

  • Why are people drawn to stories of the unknown? 
  • How does science help us decide what to believe? 

Literature Connection

Sasquatch by Roland Smith

1. Preparing to Read 

Preview Text Features (15 minutes)

Have students open their magazines to page 8. Use the following questions to preview text features:

  • Look at the photo on pages 8-9 and read the caption on page 8. Then read the title and the subhead on page 9. Who or what is shown in the image? What have you heard about this creature before? The creature in the image is Bigfoot. (Answers to the second question will vary.)
  • Look at the newspaper cutout on pages 10-11. What does the headline say? Do you think this was big news at the time? Why or why not? The headline says “Eye-Witnesses See Bigfoot.” It’s at the top of the page, above the name of the newspaper. This tells us that it was big news at the time.
  • Look at the photos of the animals on page 11 and read the caption. Why do you think these animals are included in an article about Bigfoot? Maybe people once thought these animals weren’t real, the way we think Bigfoot isn’t real now.

Preview Vocabulary (10 minutes)

  • Point out the vocabulary box on page 9. Read each word aloud (lurking, legend, footage, hoax, species) and discuss the definitions
  • Play the Vocabulary Slideshow.

Build Background (10 minutes)

Make a Plan for Reading 

Before students start to read, walk them through a reading plan:

  • Set a purpose for reading by telling students that they’ll find text evidence in “Hunting a Monster” that shows how the legend of Bigfoot became well-known in America.
  • Point out the Pause and Think boxes. Tell students they can check their understanding of what they’ve read by answering these questions.
  • Point out the activity on page 12. Tell students they will complete it after reading. Instruct them to keep the Think About It! question at the bottom of the page in mind as they read.
  • Tell students that as they finish each section, they should think about how the text features on the page (e.g. photos, captions, and section headings) relate to what they’ve just read.

2. Reading and Unpacking the Text

Guide students to read the article. Once they understand it well, discuss the following close-reading and critical-thinking questions.

Close-Reading Questions (15 minutes)

  • What evidence made people in the 1950s and 1960s think Bigfoot was real? What do people say about that evidence now? (synthesizing) In the late 1950s, workers in California said they found huge footprints in the woods that they couldn’t identify. Stories of Bigfoot sightings spread. People said they’d found Bigfoot’s poop or hair. In 1967, someone shared footage of Bigfoot walking in the woods. It turned out that the footprints were a hoax, the footage probably shows a person in costume, and the poop and hair likely came from real animals.
  • In the section “Magic and Mystery,” why does the author suggest that you Google “Bigfoot”? (author’s purpose) The author wants to show that the legend of Bigfoot is still very much alive. When you Google “Bigfoot,” you get more than 50 million hits (or search results). This means that even today, decades after the myth first started spreading, people still discuss Bigfoot and believe in it.
  • What do the Komodo dragon and the giant squid have in common? How are they similar to Bigfoot? How are they different? (compare and contrast) The Komodo dragon and the giant squid were both thought to be make-believe creatures before they were found to be real. Like Bigfoot, they were seen as imaginary. Unlike Bigfoot, they turned out to be real animals. There’s still no evidence that Bigfoot exists!

Critical-Thinking Questions (10 minutes)

  • Why do you think Bud Jenkins’s neighbors believed that he and Robert Hatfield had seen Bigfoot? (Hint: Think about what year it was and what you read in the section “Bigfoot Mania.”) (critical thinking) The neighbors were probably influenced by what they were seeing in the news. At the time, newspapers were printing stories of people who claimed to have spotted Bigfoot. Since the men’s description of the creature matched what they were reading, the neighbors probably assumed it was the mysterious Bigfoot.
  • Would you pay to go on a Bigfoot hunt? Why or why not? (making connections) Answers will vary. Students might say they’d go on a Bigfoot hunt just for fun, even if they didn’t believe they would find anything. Or they might say that no matter how improbable, it’s still possible that they could find Bigfoot, which would be exciting. Alternatively, students might say that such a “hunt” would be a waste of time, as all evidence points to this creature being imaginary.

3. Skill Building

  • Have students work in pairs to complete the text evidence activity on page 12. As a class, discuss students’ answers and the Think About It! question.
  • Use our Central Idea and Details Skill Builder, available in a higher and lower level version.
  • Writing prompt: Read the headline and first paragraph of the Humboldt Standard article on pages 10-11. Then write the rest of the article, based on what you know about the “discovery” of the footprints outside Bluff Creek, California. Use your imagination to fill in the details of the story!

Learn-Anywhere Activity

An enrichment activity to extend the learning journey at home or in the classroom

Make an Ad for a Bigfoot Hunt!

Imagine that you’ve decided to start your own business leading Bigfoot hunts. Make an ad, in the form of a poster or a video, to let people know about your business. Get creative and make the hunts sound great. Your ad should tell possible customers:

  •  the purpose of the hunt
  • why people believe in Bigfoot (think about other creatures that turned out to be real)
  • why the hunt will be fun
  • how long each hunt takes
  • how much it costs to go on a hunt

Include images to show people what they might find and how exciting the hunt will be!

ELL Springboard

Teach Fact vs. Fiction to make this article more accessible.

After reading the article, ask students to think about the phrase, “Is it fact or fiction?” Explain that “fact” means something is true and is able to be proven. “Fiction” refers to things that are made-up. Read each sentence below out loud and ask students if it states a fact or if it should be considered fiction. Discuss students’ reasoning.

  • On February 7, 1962, two men saw Bigfoot in their backyard. (Fiction)
  • If you search for “Bigfoot” on the internet, you’ll find many articles and videos. (Fact)
  • A survey found that 20 percent of Americans believe that Bigfoot is real. (Fact)
  • In Nepal, a monster called the yeti lurks in the mountains. (Fiction)
  • Komodo dragons live in Southeast Asia. (Fact)
Looking for more ELL support? Download our full lesson plan and scroll to p. 4 to find questions that will help your ELLs respond to the text at the level that’s right for them.

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