Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin


As you discuss the questions in class at the end of each chapter, use this sheet to guide your listening for detail, make notes, or jot sketches. That way you can easily answer the three essay questions—in words and in pictures—because you'll have an inventory of ideas. You'll build your essay answers from this sheet—snapping together your notes and referencing your sketches, as if they were Legos®. The essay questions are llisted at the top. Read them now to sharpen your guided listening. Notes and sketching space appears below the questions, by chapter.

Essay Questions

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 abnormally rapid growth in the cortex in autistic people lead to some of her behaviors? Try to illustrate your answer by drawing a cortex, then mapping out the activities it controls.

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, writing about them, and illustrating at least one of them, too. If you prefer, make a general blueprint for how a door functions in Temple Grandin's life.

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. You might want to reference her blueprints for animal holding facilities to show evidence of scientific thinking and method, such as the angle of the ramp into the dip vat that cows don't like.

Discussion Questions


Chapter 1
Family. A. Name some ways Temple was different from other babies and young children. What would you think of that behavior if you were called over to babysit Temple Grandin then? How would you react?

B. Temple Grandin says she thinks in pictures. What does that mean? What are the pictures in your head?



Chapter 2
Animals. A. Why does Temple Grandin like animals so much, and what do they share in common? How do you feel about animals? Why?

B. What is the role of emotions in animals' lives, and how does Temple use animals' emotions? Give some examples of an animal's emotional reaction you've witnessed, and tell how you interacted with the animal in that emotional state. For example, most of us have been greeted by a happy dog at the door. But have you ever known a "jolly animal," one with a sense of humor? Or a sneaky animal, one that is dishonest? An animal with hurt feelings? An embarrassed animal? How did you perceive those emotions?

Bonus Temple Truth: What does Temple Grandin call raw oysters?

Chapter 3
Autism. A. What is autism? Name some traits or mannerisms. 

B. What is the biggest "deficit," meaning skill that is lacking, in autistic people? Why is that a disability? What are their biggest strengths? Why does Temple Grandin embrace the strengths of her autism?

Chapter 4
School. A. What was Temple like in school and what 4th grade assignment showed her autistic traits?

B. What was Temple's favorite book in 4th grade? How is that an apt expression of who she is?

Chapter 5
Teasing. A. What about the school's physical environment was hard for Temple to be in when she moved to high school?

B. What about the school's social environment was hard for her?

Bonus Temple Truth: What is neurodiversity and how is Temple Grandin a shining example of how neurodiversity enriches science?



Chapter 6
New School. A. The director of admissions at Temple's new school said about his students, "Their problems are part of their abilities." What do you think he meant by that? Why do you think Temple excelled at her new school, the Hampshire School?

B. Describe two projects Temple found really satisfying to make at Harmpshire School, and explain what she liked about them.

Chapter 7
Saviors. A. What saved Temple and why did she need saving?

B. In her junior year of high school, a great change occurred at her aunt's ranch in Arizona. What was it?

Chapter 8
Experimenting. A. How did the squeeze machine affect her life back at Hampshire School?

B. What is scientific about Temple's work with her squeeze machine in college?

Bonus Temple Truth: Temple believes that when one door closes, another opens. How did that happen to her in graduate school?

Chapter 9
Sexism. A. Temple Grandin and her scientific graduate studies of cattle chutes were not welcomed by everybody in the animal processing world. How was her autism a superability—not a disability—in this situation?

B. Describe some of the ways men in this male-dominated world reacted to her. How did Temple Grandin react? What about her enabled her to do so? Why do you think the men acted this way?

Chapter 10
Design. A. How did a natural threat to cattle in the 1970s advance Temple Grandin's research?

B. How was Temple Grandin uniquely suited to solving the dip vat entry problem? Name some elements of her breakthrough design.

Chapter 11
Slaughterhouse Hell and Heaven. A. Of all the awful things Temple Grandin endured—teasing at school, getting expelled from school, sexism early in her career—why was her visit to the Spencer, Iowa, food plant the worst?

B. How can a person who loves cattle, and believes them to be her best friends, design systems for killing them, or eat a steak?

Bonus Temple Truth: What should a humane, dignified death for food animals be like? Look at her blueprint design after p. 107 for "Stairway to Heaven" and describe how that serves these goals.

Chapter 12
Measuring. A. Science is data driven. It is based on obtaining repeatable evidence that supports the conclusions and the standards it proposes. How did Temple propose scientifically evaluating the behavior of cattle to determine if they were calm or fearful in her slaughterhouse designs?

B. Like all scientists, Temple's work continues to grow and evolve in new directions. What is the current focus of her work?

Chapter 13
Today. A. Describe Temple Grandin's home. Visualize it! Then tell about the awards, plaques, and figurines she has. What does she do with mirrors? Why do you think she does that?

B. Temple Grandin is incredibly successful. Animals' lives are much improved because of her. Does that mean she has recovered from autism?

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