This sheet is an answer key. It highlights points that the students' essays should include. It contains the writing prompt in bold face, and possible answers in regular font for each of the three writing questions. It also asks the students to try to think in pictures—as Temple does—by illustrating their written answers, from diagram to stick figures to artistic renderings. The point is to use both text and images to make meaning and convey knowledge.
Question 1 for Chapters 1-4: What is the brain region called the cortex responsible for? Knowing the cortex's role, think of Temple Grandin's mannerisms and life story. How might rapid growth in the cortex lead to some of her behaviors? Try to illustrate your answer by drawing a cortex, then mapping out the activities it controls. (p. 21) The cortex processes sensations such as hearing and touch, muscle movement, thought, reasoning, language, and memory. Think about how the cortex controls movement, and recall our intro video for the meat-packing plant and how Temple Grandin is unusually animated with her hands when she talks. As a child, movement attracted her; the flapping flags, the falling sand, and twirling. That could have been due to overgrowth of a region in the cortex. Enhanced growth in the cortex might also have enhanced her memory, which is why she can recall so many details and think in such rich, complete pictures that she then translates into blueprints for animal facilities.
Question 2 for Chapters 5-8: Doors have been important structures in Temple Grandin's life. Explain their symbolism and give two examples of doors that impacted her life by writing about them and illustrating them, too. Doors symbolized passage, usually to a better place when she felt trapped. In high school, the phrase from a sermon stuck in her mind: "Before each of you is a door opening….open it and be saved." (See pages after p. 74.) She began looking for a physical door and found a ladder leaning against a farmhouse, where an addition was being built. She climbed to the fourth floor and in the attic, found a door to the roof. She opened the door and walked onto the roof where she was "immediately flooded with relief and joy." The author recounts how Temple later wrote: "For me…finding holes and gaps is similar to the way a wary animal surveys new territory to make sure it has safe escape routes and passages, or crosses an open plain that may be full of predators…and when I spot an opening, I get a rush of happy excitement. It is like an anti-predator system deep in my brain was activated." Next, in graduate school, when her advisor discouraged her from what would be her life's work, she left, shut the door of his office, and sought new doors of professors in different departments: construction and industrial design. Walking through these doors took her to life's work because they believed in her idea to improve the design of cattle chutes to alter their behavior, and invent a more humane and ethical means of handling animals.
Question 3 for Chapters 9-13: Temple Grandin said she was saved by animals. It can also be argued that she was saved by science. Elaborate on this idea of how science has been a positive force in her life. Temple Grandin was saved by science in that it was the key to understanding the effect the squeeze machine had on her and the cattle, which gave her personal relief and professional specialization. She saw a pattern, as scientists do, and she wanted to investigate it systematically, and gather data to analze. All these are scientific traits. From the pattern she saw, she formed a research question: What are the sensory effects of this machine? And investigated it in a large sample size.This teacher sheet is a part of the Temple Grandin lesson.