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by Holly Poulos

Get ready to go on a cosmic adventure with the crew of Galactic Hot Dogs! This online comic, originally published exclusively on Funbrain (but now available in print!), features Cosmoe, Humphree, and Princess Dagger, purveyors of a hot dog business—in space! Your students will love following the exploits of these space travelers, and you'll love the educational elements this teaching guide aligns to the stories.

Funbrain.com, created for kids ages preschool through grade 8, offers more than 100 fun, interactive games that develop skills in math, reading, and literacy. Kids can read a variety of popular books and comics on the site, including Galactic Hot Dogs!

The Galactic Hot Dogs series is full of educational opportunities to share with your students. Enjoy the following lessons, classroom discussions, and activities in your classroom, and find out why comic books are so popular with kids! (You can also find activities for chapters 5-8.)

• Hot Dogs for Sale. Get Your Hot Dogs!
Galactic Hot Dogs characters Cosmoe and Humphree are traveling through space and time in order to—what else?—sell hot dogs. In fact they have their own food truck featuring the king of all hot dogs: the Mega Dog.

Part 1: Imagine Cosmoe and Humphree sell their hot dogs for \$3.50 each. If they sell 15 hot dogs per hour for 3 hours, then 25 hot dogs per hour for 2 hours, then 10 hot dogs per hour for 2 hours, how much money will they make today? [\$402.50] Now imagine the overhead costs (the amount of money it costs to run their business, i.e. for food supplies and gas for the truck) for their food truck is \$150 per day, then whatever is leftover they split evenly between themselves. How much money will each person take home at the end of the day? [\$126.25]

Part 2: Ask students to imagine they operate a food truck. Have them answer the following questions in as much detail as possible:

• What is the name of your food truck?
• What kinds of food(s) do you sell? (Hot dogs are off the table! Think of something else.)
• Who cooks the food? Do you cook while your best friend runs the business? Vice versa? Or do you both pitch in on each task?
• What do you charge for each food item?
• Where do you park your truck? (Outside the grocery store? At the park? In your parents' lawn?)
• What will your hours be? (When will you have the most customers?)

• Sell It Like It Is!

• Slogans

• Through Thick and Thin
Cosmoe has an unusual buddy—a rubbery blob named Goober, who is attached to Cosmoe's arm. Cosmoe calls it a "symbiotic relationship." Ask students to use the Internet to look up the meaning of "symbiotic relationship," or explain to them that in short, it is when two (or more) organisms depend on each other to function and survive. Goober feeds off Cosmoe's adrenaline, and Cosmoe uses Goober's ability to transform into weapons and other interesting things to help Cosmoe defend himself. They're lost without each other!

Life is probably easier on Cosmoe and Goober if they cooperate. If they can't agree to act in unison, they'll both suffer. Encourage students to work together to complete a task or project. Use cooperative learning techniques.

• The Verdict Is In
Uh-oh. Princess Dagger hopped aboard the Neon Wiener, and now the Queen's army thinks she's been kidnapped—and Cosmoe's to blame. Imagine Cosmoe is charged with kidnapping the princess. Put him on trial.

• What will Cosmoe plea?
• Humphree will represent Cosmoe as his lawyer (the defense). What kind of arguments will he make?
• Evil Queen Dagger is the one accusing Cosmoe on the other side (the plaintiff). Who is her lawyer?
• Who serves as a witness for Cosmoe? What about for Queen Dagger?
• What will be put into evidence?
• Does Princess Dagger testify?
• Who will serve on the jury (imagine some of the space travelers who might be there)?
• What is the verdict?

• You've Got a Friend in Me
Princess Dagger claims she stole the Mega Dog because she was trying to make friends with the travelers on the Neon Wiener. Cosmoe points out that stealing from people and generally being evil aren't good ways to make friends. The Princess needs help. Can you tell her some better ways to make friends with new people?

Here are some activities about making and celebrating our friends:

• A Heroine for a Change
When the Jacks come to claim Princess Dagger, Cosmoe is torn: should he let them take her back with them (even though she doesn't want to go), or should he fight them off to let her stay on the Neon Wiener? Cosmoe points out how cute and helpless she is. Humphree tells Comsoe he's falling for a "lady trap." Then, BAM! The Princess starts fighting off the Jacks on her own. She agrees that she is cute, but she is not helpless.

Many fairy tales and stories involve a prince or knight or manly man saving a "damsel in distress" (that's a girl in need of some saving). There aren't as many stories where the woman does the saving. Choose a classic fairy tale or story you enjoy from a book or a movie (Snow White, Cinderella, Star Wars, etc.) and think about how you would change the storyline so that the boy doesn't save the girl. The girl can save herself, the girl saves the boy, or the boy and the girl work together to get out of the sticky situation. Rewrite the story, or part of the story, with your new plot. What happens after they find themselves in trouble? Then, illustrate this scene.

Like this activity? Enjoy more fun with fairy tales!

• I Want to Drive It All Night Long
After the crew of the Neon Wiener gets through the army of Jacks, they are relieved to find themselves on the Interstellar Highway. There are between 6 and 7 billion ships on the highway, and they're sure to get lost among them.

Part 1: Draw the crew a map to find their way back to Space Port Funketoun, where they were competing in the food truck cookoff. Things to include: Earth, the Interstellar Highway, places to stop along the way, landmarks, a path to travel, and a key, scale, and compass for your map.

For a related activity on map-making, try this exercise:
• Map Making, Floor Plans & Map Reading

Part 2: Though it would be easy to get lost among 6 or 7 billion ships, it would not be so easy to count them! Help your students visualize the vast quantity of space ships with these worksheets on place value through the billions, as well as spelling out numbers. Use the place-value chart linked below to write out the number 6,458,021 in the proper columns. Then ask them to spell out the number.

• Dear Diary...
Cosmoe has had quite an exciting day so far! Since the Galactic Hot Dog series is told from Cosmoe's point of view, the audience mostly has to guess how the other characters are feeling about the adventures featuring in each story. Give them a voice! Choose any character who has made an appearance in the story, and begin a journal from his or her point of view. Reflect on the events of the day, and explain how you're feeling. Excited? Anxious? Scared? What do you think of Cosmoe and his decisions? Return to the journal as the series continues, and keep imagining how your chosen character is handling each adventure.

For tips and strategies for making and keeping a journal, choose one of the many journaling activities on TeacherVision

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