Red Thunder -

Incorporates activities that meet
standards of learning in Language
Arts, History and Art education
Red Thunder
Author: John P. Hunter
Teacher’s Guide available from Colonial Williamsburg
• Nate Chandler
• Rex
• James Armistead
• Sgt. Adickes
•Time: Summer and
Autumn, 1781
Yorktown, Virginia
• The novel offers insight
into the days just
before the battle of
Yorktown. Students will
recognize the
importance of the
American victory at the
battle of Yorktown and,
ultimately the war.
• The author uses two
vastly different heroes
to tell his tale: one a
slave and the other a
farm boy with a large
dog, Rex. They learn to
depend on each
other’s strengths as
they work for the
Patriot cause.
Sergeant Clinton Adickes
Royal British Dragoon
A heavily armed cavalry soldier
Colonel Tarleton
Chapter 1
“You Are There”
Have students play the role of a news reporter and write a description of either
the farm scene or the British dragoon raids. Writing should include vivid
descriptions of the various scenes. Each account should describe at least three
scenes from either the farm or Tarleton’s dragoons. Then, have students partner
with someone else and compare and contrast the scenes that they described.
Map it out!
Chapter 2
Figurative Language
Figurative language is a literary device that an author uses to make prose
stronger. As figures of speech, similes and metaphors help readers visualize what
is happening in the story. The author incorporates several examples of similes
and metaphors in chapters one and two.
Students will:
*Write the simile or metaphor they encounter in the book.
*Write down the two nouns that are being compared and describe how they are
*Create a drawing that illustrates the literal meaning of the words, thus
emphasizing how figurative language helps words come alive.
Chapter 3
Have students create a bio-poem using the following format on the character of Nate.
Line 1: First Name
Line2: Four traits that describe character
Line 3: Relatives of…
Line 4: One who loves…
Line 5: One who feels…
Line 6: One who needs…
Line 7: One who fears…
Line 8: One who gives…
Line 9: Who would like to see…
Line 10: Resident of…
Line 11: Last Name
Chapter 4
1. Give each student a copy of the Transcription of Dunmore’s Proclamation
and a copy of the Document Analysis sheet.
2. Explain to students that, on November 14, 1775, Virginia royal governor Lord
Dunmore issued a proclamation offering freedom to any slaves who would leave
their patriot masters and join the royal forces. Using their copies of the
proclamation, have students complete the document analysis sheet.
Chapter 5
1. James had a photographic memory. Have students participate in a learning
structure that simulates James’s innate ability to recall details. Before class,
arrange a number of objects on a desk or table. The objects may be artifacts
from the 18th century or modern-day items familiar to students. Cover the
objects so they are hidden from view. Show the objects to students for 30
seconds and then recover them. Have students list all the objects they can
2. Without letting students see, remove one object. Reveal the group of objects
again and ask students to identify the missing item.
Chapter 6
“Spies: Yesterday
and Today
Web Activity:
1. Using information from the website and from Chapter 6 of the book, have
students complete the “Spies” Venn Diagram.
2. After students have completed their Venn Diagrams, lead a brainstorming
session and allow students to add to their diagrams.
3. Hold a class discussion about why there are differences in spying techniques.
Chapter 7
Have students use the contents of chapter seven to write their own screenplay.
This may be done as an individual or team project. The play should be limited to
the action and characters in chapter seven. Once students have completed
their writing project, you may wish to have them cast their play using either
current screen stars or their classmates and friends. Have them explain why they
selected the actors that they did.
Chapter 8
Map of Williamsburg
Give each student a copy of the “Map of Williamsburg.” Have students
familiarize themselves with the town. Then, have them use the map to track the
action of the story and connect characters.
Have the students do the following:
A. Mark Nate’s path on Duke of Gloucester Street
B. Number the following areas 1-6: the Capitol, the Raleigh Tavern, Market
Square, Palace Green, the Courthouse, the Wythe House (temporary
C. Use the contents of the chapter to help them write about who was there and
what happened at that place.
Red Thunder
by John P. Hunter
 Teacher’s Guide
 Produced by Colonial Williamsburg

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