Twelve-year-old Susan Simmons finds her new substitute teacher peculiar very peculiar. When she catches him peeling off his face, it dawns on her that "Mr. Smith" is an alien! At first only the class brain, Peter Thompson, believes her. When Peter and Susan discover the alien's horrifying plans for their classmates, they know they must act fast to get rid of the extra-terrestrial and rescue their real teacher.
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Books by Bruce Coville
- Alien Spaceship Design
Have students try their hand at designing an alien spaceship. They can execute it first on paper, and then build a model, using whatever materials they wish. Students can present their finished models in class, explaining the ideas behind their engineering. Models can then be displayed in the classroom.
- Character Interviews
Invite students to take on the role of one of the characters in the book and be prepared to answer questions from their classmates. They should let their imaginations run wild after all, this is science fiction!
- Dear Diary
Have students get inside Susan Simmons' head they can pretend to be her as they read the book, and keep a diary recounting each day of her adventure. Students can share daily entries with their classmates.
- The Science Fiction Genre
Ask students to explain how science fiction is different from regular fiction. When they have a clear understanding of the difference, ask them to write an additional chapter for the book, telling what happens to Broxholm and Peter.
- A Vocabulary Game
Distribute the Vocabulary List and Vocabulary Practice worksheet to students. Separate the class into two teams and instruct them to work cooperatively to find definitions for the words in either print or online dictionaries, and write them down. After they have completed the list, they should memorize the spelling and definition of the words for a vocabulary game. When the class is ready, team members should take turns asking a member of the opposite team to spell and define a word of their choosing. Alternate teams until all of the vocabulary words have been reviewed. No word may be used more than once during the game.
Biography of Bruce Coville
Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
A brief biography of the author, plus a list of his books.
The Official Bruce Coville Site
Grade Levels: Primary, Intermediate, Middle
Tons of information about the author, including an illustrated autobiography, a list of his unabridged audiobooks, a guest book where you can make comments and suggestions or just say hello, a page of "fan art," and — as an added bonus — "fun" pages filled with jokes, crosswords, bookmarks, paper models, and more!