The Touchstone

Age Range: 8 - 11

'Anything you want to know, you hold the stone, ask me, and I will give you the answer'

Douglas is not the sort of boy to panic when something out of the ordinary happens. But when he meets a native of the planet Vangar whose arm has dropped off and needs his help, and who is being hunted by the Guardians of the Federation, well, even Douglas finds things a bit of a strain...


Book Author: Andrew Norriss

See More Books from this author

Teaching Ideas and Resources:

English

  • The story starts when Douglas hears his name called by a faint voice in the distance. Could you start your own story with this idea? What might happen next?
  • Write a prequel to the book, explaining how Kai arrived on planet Earth.
  • Write your own story about someone who discovers a stone with special powers. What might happen to them??(see Resources below)
  • Carry out a 'conscience corridor' role play activity where you discuss why Douglas should / shouldn't help the woman at the start of the story.
  • If you were Douglas, what questions would you ask Kai when he first met her?
  • Gedrus explains that he is like 'an access point to an encyclopaedia'. Can you use an encyclopaedia to find out about a topic? Could you create an encyclopaedia entry for a topic that you are learning about?
  • In Chapter 5, the author writes 'But the truth was that the really strange things had hardly even begun'. Before reading on, could you predict what might happen next? Could you write about the strange things that might happen to Douglas and Ivo?
  • Gedrus can give information about any topic. If you could ask him one question what would it be? Can you research the answer and create a report about it.
  • Gedrus works in an amazing library. Can you visit your school / local library. How are the books organised? Who works there? What do they do? Could you create a poster to promote the library to others, or write a report about how it is organised?
  • Role play the scene in Chapter 8 where Douglas' parents meet his head teacher. What does each person say? How does Douglas feel about the things that the adults are saying about him?
  • Create a newspaper article about Ivo's accident in Chapter 9.
  • Things start to go wrong for Douglas in Chapter 9. Role play an interview with him. How might he explain the different things that are happening? How does he feel about it all?
  • If your class could have their own Touchstone, would they like one? Have a class debate to discuss the pros / cons of having something that can tell people whatever they want to know.
  • Carry out a 'conscience corridor' activity to help Douglas decide whether he should help Quomp in chapter 10.

Maths

  • Douglas tries to use his savings to invest in stocks and shares. How do these work? How much did Douglas make by investing in the Travers Mining Company? What was his profit as a percentage of his investment?
  • After two weeks, Douglas' investment is worth over a quarter of a million pounds. What is his profit now?

Science

  • Draw a labelled diagram of the known solar system and add on the planets and stars mentioned in the book.
  • Kai's body decomposes as part of the regeneration process. Can you find out what decomposition means?

Computing

  • Use ICT to create a picture of the Touchstone or a new stone with special powers.

Design Technology

  • Create a model of the Touchstone based on the description in the book.
  • Design and make a model of the robot that Ivo is building. Can you add blown-up sections and instructions like the ones that Douglas drew? What materials will be the best to use?
  • Design a new ship for Kai to travel to her world in.

Art

  • Design your own magical stone. What special powers does it have?
  • Draw an illustration of the scene that Douglas sees when he first meets Gedrus.

Geography

  • Ivo is Bulgarian. What do you know about Bulgaria? How is it similar / different to where you live?

Physical education

  • Mrs Paterson likes ballroom dancing. Can you find out about the different types of ballroom dances. Can you try some of them?

PSHE

  • Ivo was 'brought up with a strong sense of duty'. What does this mean?
  • Kai explains that 'When you know what you want, Gedrus can tell you how to achieve it.' What would you like to achieve? What might Gedrus say to help you to do this?
  • Gedrus shows Douglas a scene from his sixth birthday. If you could see any special day / event, what would it be / why? How would this make you feel?
  • Hannah teaches Douglas how to behave badly at school. Could you make a poster to encourage people to behave properly?

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