Cosmic – Planning Overview

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Dan

When teaching reading and writing, teachers know that all children learn differently. A variety of resources are often necessary to engage different students.

One excellent resource for you and your students is the award-winning novel Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Through this inspiring story about Liam Digby’s epic journey into space, relevant content areas like literacy-rich character development and math skills can be explored in exciting ways!

This article will provide an overview of how to plan best using Cosmic as part of your curriculum.

Related: For more, check out our article on Football Crazy by Tony Bradman  here.

Cosmic

Storyline

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Liam Digby is a 12-year-old boy who looks much older than his age. He’s tall and has a beard, which makes him stand out from other kids his age. Liam is also brilliant and has an interest in space.

One day, Liam pretends to be the adult chaperone for a school trip to a theme park called Dark Ride.

While on the ride, something strange happens – Liam and his friend Florida drift off into space! They eventually land on a spaceship headed for a new planet called Iota.

The spaceship is filled with other children who will be colonists on Iota. Liam realizes that he’s not the only one pretending to be an adult – all of the kids on the ship have lied about their ages to get onto the mission.

As they travel through space, Liam becomes friends with other kids and learns more about their backgrounds.

One girl named Amina is from Afghanistan and wants to escape her war-torn country. Another boy named Hari has been sent away by his parents because they don’t want him anymore.

When they finally land on Iota, things don’t go as planned. The planet isn’t what they expected, and they soon realize they’re in danger.

The kids must work together to survive and find a way back home.

Liam learns important lessons about honesty, friendship, and bravery throughout their journey. Cosmic is an exciting adventure story that keeps readers on edge until the end.

Characters in Cosmic

Liam Digby – The story’s protagonist, a 12-year-old boy who looks much older than his age and is interested in space. He pretends to be an adult chaperone on a school trip to Dark Ride and ends up on a spaceship headed for Iota.

Florida Kirby – Liam’s friend who also drifts off into space with him while on the Dark Ride.

Amina – One of the other kids on the spaceship headed to Iota. She’s from Afghanistan and wants to escape her war-torn country.

Hari – Another child colonist on the spaceship who his parents have sent away because they don’t want him anymore.

Janice – The leader of the mission to colonize Iota.

Dad – Liam’s father works at a museum and has taught Liam about space.

Mum – Liam’s mother worries about him being tall and looking older than his age.

cosmic

Themes

  1. Honesty – The importance of being truthful and honest with oneself and others is a recurring theme in the story.
  2. Friendship – The bonds of friendship between Liam and the other kids on the spaceship are crucial to their survival on Iota.
  3. Bravery – The children must face many challenges and dangers on their journey, requiring them to be brave to survive.
  4. Family Dynamics – Liam’s relationship with his parents is explored throughout the story, particularly his father’s influence on his interest in space.
  5. Identity – Liam struggles with looking older than his age and feeling like he doesn’t fit in with other kids his age, while Amina grapples with her identity as an Afghan refugee.
  6. Adventure/Exploration – Cosmic is ultimately an adventure story about exploring new frontiers, literally (in space) and figuratively (regarding personal growth).

Liam’s Friendships

Liam’s friendship with the other kids on the spaceship is a central aspect of Cosmic. At first, Liam is sceptical of the other children and sees them as obstacles to his goal of returning to Earth.

However, they bond and form a strong friendship as they face challenges.

Liam and Florida Kirby become fast friends when they drift off into space on the Dark Ride ride at the theme park.

They share a love for space and exploration, which brings them closer together. As they continue their journey on the spaceship, they meet Amina and Hari, who also become part of their group.

Despite coming from different backgrounds, the children learn to work together and rely on each other for support. They share meals, explore Iota together, and even devise a plan to get back home.

Their friendship is tested when secrets are revealed, and trust is broken, but it becomes stronger as they work through these challenges.

The bond between Liam and his friends proves crucial in their survival on Iota. They would have made it through their journey alive with each other’s support and encouragement.

Teaching Opportunities

Cosmic is an excellent text when teaching children how to write using literary devices. Here are some opportunities for incorporating different literary devices into writing activities inspired by the book:

Fronted Adverbials

Fronted adverbials can be used to add detail and description to sentences. Have students find examples of fronted adverbials in Cosmic, such as “In space, you get really good at waiting” or “With a thump, we crash-landed on Iota.

Then, challenge them to write their own sentences using fronted adverbials based on scenes from the book or their own experiences.

Personification

Personification can help bring inanimate objects or animals to life and make descriptions more interesting. In Cosmic, several examples of personification exist, such as “The stars winked at me” or “The rocket ship groaned under the weight of our supplies.

Have students identify these examples and develop their own personifications for objects or animals they encounter daily.

Expanded Noun Phrases

Expanded noun phrases can make descriptions more detailed and engaging. Have students find examples of expanded noun phrases in Cosmic, such as “the enormous rollercoaster with loops and twists” or “the rusty old spaceship held together with duct tape.

Then, have them practice writing expanded noun phrases based on things they see around them.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan for Fronted Adverbials:

Objective:

Students will be able to identify and use fronted adverbials in their writing.

Materials:

  • Copies of Cosmic or excerpts from the book
  • Writing prompts related to scenes from the book

Procedure:

  1. Introduce the concept of fronted adverbials and provide examples.
  2. Have students read passages from Cosmic and identify fronted adverbials in the text.
  3. Discuss how fronted adverbials add detail and description to sentences.
  4. Provide writing prompts related to scenes from the book or based on student experiences, and have students write sentences using fronted adverbials.
  5. Please share examples of student work and discuss how they added depth to their writing by using fronted adverbials.

Assessment:

Evaluate student writing samples for proper use of fronted adverbials.

Lesson Plan for Personification:

Objective:

Students will be able to identify and use personification in their writing.

Materials:

  • Copies of Cosmic or excerpts from the book
  • Writing prompts related to scenes from the book

Procedure:

  1. Introduce the concept of personification and provide examples.
  2. Have students read passages from Cosmic and identify examples of personification in the text.
  3. Discuss how personification can bring objects or animals to life in writing.
  4. Provide writing prompts related to scenes from the book or based on student experiences, and have students write sentences using personification.
  5. Please share examples of student work and discuss how they used personification effectively in their writing.

Assessment:

Evaluate student writing samples for proper use of personification.

Lesson Plan for Expanded Noun Phrases:

Objective:

Students can identify and use expanded noun phrases in their writing.

Materials:

  • Copies of Cosmic or excerpts from the book
  • Writing prompts related to scenes from the book

Procedure:

  1. Introduce the concept of expanded noun phrases and provide examples.
  2. Have students read passages from Cosmic and identify examples of expanded noun phrases in the text.
  3. Discuss how expanded noun phrases can make descriptions more detailed and engaging.
  4. Provide writing prompts related to scenes from the book or based on student experiences, and have students write sentences using expanded noun phrases.
  5. Share examples of student work and discuss how they used expanded noun phrases effectively in their writing.

Assessment:

Evaluate student writing samples for proper use of expanded noun phrases.

Note: These lesson plans can be adapted based on grade level, classroom needs, and time constraints, but they should provide a good starting point for teaching literary devices using Cosmic as a model text!

FAQ

Q: What is the book “Cosmic” about?

A: “Cosmic” is a children’s novel by Frank Cottrell Boyce that tells the story of Liam Digby, a boy who looks much older than he actually is.

When Liam and his friend Florida take advantage of his appearance to pose as adults, they end up on a rocket trip to space with other kids. The book explores themes such as identity, growing up, and friendship.

Q: What age group is “Cosmic” appropriate for?

A: “Cosmic” is aimed at readers aged 9-12. It can be enjoyed by both boys and girls interested in science fiction and adventure stories.

Q: Is “Cosmic” part of a series?

A: No, “Cosmic” is a standalone novel.

Q: Are any lesson plans or resources available for teaching “Cosmic”?

A: Several resources are available online for teaching “Cosmic”, including lesson plans and activity ideas from websites such as Literacy Shed Plus and TES.

Q: Has “Cosmic” won any awards?

A: “Cosmic” has won several awards, including the Carnegie Medal in 2008 and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2004.

Q: Is there a film adaptation of “Cosmic”?

A: Currently, there is no film adaptation of “Cosmic”.

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