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1.How has Maxwell’s impression of Iggy changed from the day he brought
Loretta’s purse back to now? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.
2. Why is Kevin having to miss school from time to time? Why is this also a
concern for Maxwell? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.
3. What does Maxwell mean when he says, “The weird thing I keep thinking about,
what if something happens when I get older and I turn out to be another accident of
4. What is the reason why Kevin is getting a computer and not a jet plane for his
birthday? Why might he need a computer? Cite evidence from the text to support your
5. What clues is the author giving that Kevin’s health seems to be deteriorating? Cite
evidence from the text to support your response.
6. Maxwell asks, “So when do you come home?” Kevin responds, “I’m not
coming home. Not in my present manifestation.” What do you think this means? Does
Maxwell understand? How do you know?
7. What does Kevin want Maxwell to do with the empty book he has given him? Why is
this a huge challenge for Maxwell? Cite evidence from the text to support your
8. How does Maxwell respond to the news he finds out at the hospital? Cite evidence
from the text to support your response.
9. Why do you think Kevin told Maxwell that he was getting a robot body when he
knew all along that he wasn’t? Do you think he meant to lie to Maxwell? Why or why
not? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.
10. Infer what the reader learns about this novel in the very last paragraph of the story?
Cite evidence from the text to support your response.
Story Map
Directions: Fill in the shapes with the corresponding elements from the
Main characters 3-settings
problem 3 most significant events
Resolution theme
Erin Beers 2015 43
Erin Beers 2015 44
Figurative Language Terms
SIMILE- a comparison of two unlike things using the words
like or as.
Example: “Freak is laughing like a maniac.”
METAPHOR- a suggestion that two unlike things are
the same.
Example: “I know a real gun when I see it. You little
PERSONIFICATION- an idea that makes something
non- human human.
Example: The fire danced in the darkness of our campsite.
HYPERBOLE- an extreme
Example: We were so hungry we could eat a horse.
IDIOM- a phrase that goes beyond its literal meaning.
Example: “I have to clean this up and get out of here.” (pg. 130)
Erin Beers 2015 45
Directions: Read each quote from the text. Determine if the quote is an example of
simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, or an idiom. Finally, explain the
meaning of the quote.
1. “The sunlight blinds me and we are skitter-rolling through the clean, cold
snow.” (pg. 133)
2. “They caught you, Daddy, and they put you away forever except then
you fooled them and they let you go.” (pg. 130)
3. “It’s like I’m trapped underwater or something, so weak and floaty I can’t
hardly fight him, can’t pry his fingers loose from my mother’s neck.” (pg. 128)
4. “I don’t say a word, I just run us home, thumping the short way back around the
pond, and my big feet never trip me up because I’m on automatic, I’m this running
machine.” (pg. 72)
5. “Moving fast, like the sun is chasing my heels, I’m running down the long
faint shadow of me that stretches out ahead, you can’t ever catch up with it.” (pg
Erin Beers 2015 46
Freak the Mighty
CCSS Journal Prompts
Directions: Copy, cut, and have students paste each prompt into their
writer’s notebook. Students can then respond and share.
Prompt 1: (6-8.W.4)
What could have happened to a boy like Maxwell without the
love and care that Grim and Gram have provided him with
throughout his traumatic life? Even though they may all drive
one another a bit crazy-predict what Maxwell’s life might have
been like if they had not taken over his care.
Prompt 2: (6-8.W.4)
Rewrite the ending to the novel.
Prompt 3: (6-8.W.4)
Which character from the novel was your favorite character?
Cite three reasons this character was one that you liked
best. Discuss the character traits, actions, and other aspects
of this person that made them relatable to you.
Erin Beers 2015 47
Character Trading Cards
Directions: Identify four favorite characters from the novel you just completed. On the
lines below, list as many character traits about each character. Be sure to go back into
the text to find as much information as you can. Next, use the Character Trading Card
Template. Draw a detailed picture of each character on each of the four pieces of
paper. On the back of each “Character Card” write the characteristics that you
brainstormed and cited from the text in the space below. Share these with your
teacher and classmates to encourage them to learn about these novel characters.
Character #1 Name:__________________________________
Character #2
Character #3
Character #4
Erin Beers 2015
Character Trading Cards Template
Erin Beers 2015 48
Character Trading Card
End of Novel Project Rubric
Rating Prep Work Conventions Presentation
Student completed the Character Card Organizer with ALL details.
Student wrote all information from the organizer on the back of each character card accurately.
Student spelled all words correctly.
Student used perfect grammar with no errors.
Student capitalized and punctuated with no errors.
Student completed all 4 cards with thorough, accurate details.
Student Character Cards are colorful and highly- detailed
Student put forth the most effort possible
Student mostly completed the Character Card Organizer with some details.
Student wrote most information from the organizer on the back of each character card.
Student had 1-2 spelling errors.
Student used mostly correct grammar with 1- 2 errors.
Student capitalized and punctuated with 1-2 errors.
Student completed all 4 cards but missed some details.
Student Character Cards are colorful and highly- detailed
Student put forth some effort.
Student partially completed the Character Card Organizer with minimal details.
Student wrote some information from the organizer on the back of each character card.
Student had 3-4 spelling errors.
Student used inconsistent grammar with 3-4 errors.
Student capitalized and punctuated with 3-4 errors.
Student completed all 4 cards with few accurate details.
Student Character Cards are limited in their detail.
Student put forth little effort.
Student didn’t complete the Character Card Organizer with no details.
Student wrote little information from the organizer on the back of each character card.
Student spelled more than 5 words incorrectly.
Student used poor grammar with more than 5 errors.
Student capitalized and punctuated writing with more than 5 errors.
Student did not complete all 4 cards.
Student Character Cards are not colored and have no detail.
Student put forth no effort.
Total points earned: _____/12
Erin Beers 2015 Comments:
Answer Key
Character Analysis
Main Characters Description
Freak Kevin, a 12-year old boy with a disability where his organs grow, but his bones don’t seem to be able
to, smart, creative, optimistic, best friend to Maxwell, has a single mom due to the fact that his dad left his
mom when he learned Kevin was born with a disability, witty
Maxwell The narrator, tall, oaf-like, lives with his grandparents because his dad killed his mom and is
in prison, quiet, reserved, able to come out of his shell with the help of Kevin, gentle, a
great friend to Kevin, the mighty portion of Freak the Mighty, saw his father kill his
Grim Maxwell’s maternal grandfather, guardian of Maxwell
Gram Maxwell’s maternal grandmother, guardian of Maxwell, kind, caring, wanting the best for
Fair Gwen Kevin’s beautiful mother who has raised him and done the best she can as a single parent,
Tony D. The town bully
Freak the Mighty The combination of Kevin and Maxwell that can take on quests and together conquer the
Kenny Kane Maxwell’s dad, in prison for killing his mom, tries to abduct Maxwell, and almost kills
Loretta Lee, notorious in the town as Killer
Loretta Lee A resident at the Testaments, Freak the Mighty find and return her purse and learn that
she knows Killer Kane, married to Iggy, rescues Maxwell from Kenny Kane after helping
him seek shelter after he is paroled
Iggy Lee Loretta Lee’s husband, leader of a biker gang, helps Kenny Kane after he is released from
Mrs. Donelli Kevin and Maxwell’s teacher, clueless and unsure how to best meet the needs of her
Mrs. Addison The school principal, cares for Maxwell and accommodates him in every way she can with
Kevin and when the news comes about Kenny
Mr. Mehan Maxwell’s tutor at school who believes he is just lazy
Dr. Spivak Kevin’s doctor, kind, and hopeful for Kevin
Erin Beers 2015 50
Context Clue Word Work
Word Word Meaning
unvanquished (p.1) To overcome
phony (p.2) deceptive
duplex (p.4) A two-family home
goon (p.4) hoodlum
vacant (p.6) empty
mainstream (p. 6) normal
hunkering (p. 8) squatting
bulkhead (p. 11) A partition
humongous (p. 12) enormous
ornithopter (p. 13) A flying object
propulsion (p. 13) momentum
Word Word Meaning
sobriquet (p. 15) nickname
demeanor (p. 15) Manner or behavior
postulate (p. 16) Hypothesize or assume
opiate (p. 19) A drug
serum (p. 19) A special liquid
tenements (p. 25) Public housing apartments
depleted (p. 26) exhausted
regurgitate (p. 27) Throw up
trajectory (p. 34) route
converging (p. 34) joining
evasive (p. 43) indirect
Erin Beers 2015 51
Word Word Meaning
archetype (p. 45) model
psyche (p. 47) spirit
divulged (p. 51) revealed
bionics (p.51) Manmade technology
remarkable (p. 54) extraordinary
optimum (p. 56) finest
fealty (p. 58) fidelity
parole (p. 91) A conditional release
nicotine (p. 93) A chemical in cigarettes
jackknife (p. 95) A pocketknife
deprived (p. 103) disadvantaged
Word Word Meaning
skittery (p. 115) nervously
redeemed (p. 118) converted
illiterate (p. 118) Unable to read or write
trussed (p. 119) tethered
cooped (p. 123) confined
slagged (p. 125) Melted metal
scuttles (p. 131) scurries
aberration (p. 137) abnormailty
smidgeon (p. 144) dash
sure-handed (p. 145) dexterous
seizure (p. 146) A medical emergency
Reader Response Questions Chapter 1
1. It means that he learned to be a fighter when kids would pick on him. 2. They called him names like
Maxi-Pad and made fun of him for being in learning disabled
classes. 3. He lives with his grandparents, Grim and Gram, because his dad killed his mom.
Erin Beers 2015 52
4. “Well, I was a butthead, because like I said, I never had a brain until Freak moved down
the street.” Clearly, he does not believe that he is smart.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 2
1. It doesn’t seem like Grim trusts Maxwell because he resembles his dad and his dad did
something to Maxwell’s mom. In addition, his room is in the basement and any talk of dangerous
behavior seems to make Grim nervous. 2. B 3. He has been hitting kids with his crutches since daycare
and he is unkind to the movers
by making demands with the moving boxes. 4. Maxwell is supposed to be this BIG soon to be 8th
grader, while Kevin is shorter and has
braces on his legs. It seems funny that Maxwell would be so afraid of him.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 3
1. The reader might infer he has some sort of disability. 2. A 3. “An ornihtopter is defined as an
experimental device propelled by flapping wings. Or
you could just say that an ornithopter is just a big word for mechanical bird.” 4. Because Maxwell is able
to take Kevin in the wagon and pull him to his house, this might
indicate they will become friends. It also says, “All I’m really sure of is he never hit me with that
Reader Response Questions Chapter 4
1. Due to Kevin’s disability, he may be one to dream about what kinds of things science
can do to help change and improve upon the human body. 2. He means that anyone can become
addicted to watching television and the ideas that
are shared through that technology. 3. C 4. She might be considered judgmental because she sees
Maxwell’s size and appearance
and seems to take off running with Kevin, which is not the most polite thing to do when meeting
someone for the first time.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 5
1. Gwen and Maxwell’s mom were pregnant with Kevin and Maxwell at the same time and
both boys went to the same daycare. 2. Their friendship seems to have fallen apart after Maxwell’s
mom and dad got married,
and Maxwell’s dad seems to have been the reason for it happening. 3. C 4. He is
likely crying tears of joy because he has a friend.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 6
1. She allows Maxwell to go with Kevin so that Kevin doesn’t get trampled. 2. A 3. He thinks he is safe
mouthing off to Tony D. because he believes that Maxwell can beat
him up. 4. He is a force because he is afraid of no one and is a genius.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 7
Erin Beers 2015 53
1. Kevin yelled at him calling him a Cretin. If Kevin hadn’t yelled and insulted him, he might
not be after them if Kevin never said anything. 2. He has already been in the juvenile detention center,
so he may have hurt them. He
seems pretty aggressive, but sometimes bullies are all talk and will not act. 3. C 4. He seems to have a
number of people treating him differently due to his dad who is in
prison. He may have killed Maxwell’s mom based on the way everyone is responding to him.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 8
1. The police seemed to think that Maxwell saved Kevin and that was the story they told Gram and Grim.
Everyone thinks that Maxwell is a hero when they kind of saved and helped one another after getting
into a confrontation with Tony D. caused by Kevin running his mouth. He probably feels like he has
finally made his grandparents proud of him. 2. Kevin encourages Maxwell to do more than hang out in
the “Down Under” each day.
He comes over, gets Maxwell, and they head out on daily quests. 3. D 4. Maxwell feels that he isn’t as
smart as Kevin, but has a newfound happiness when he is
with Kevin because they are buddies. It is amazing how a friend can change a depressed
Reader Response Questions Chapter 9
1. He envisions himself as riding a steed like the knights in King Arthur’s Court. 2. He wants to
show him where he has been taking different tests and where they are
building his bionically improved human suit. 3. Student answers will vary, but students should be able to
share about a time when they were eager to get something and compare that to how Kevin wants to be
healthy and grow the way he is supposed to grow. 4. He means that you can convince yourself not to feel
pain because the mind is capable
of great things.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 10
1. Kevin sees someone from Tony D.’s gang stuff it into the sewer and he decides to have
Maxwell help him get it and see if there are any treasures. They decide to head out in the middle of the
night, at 3AM, when the night is at its darkest. 2. Probably not because it seems as though no one is
anywhere to be found. 3. A 4. She might think that the boys have taken it and are just returning it after
they have taken the money. They could be accused of a crime, which is not in Maxwell’s best interest
considering his dad’s actions make him seem likely to become a criminal as well.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 11
1. No because they are described as apartments that are falling apart and smell of fish and
sour milk. 2. She is likely fearful of him being in an unsafe place, although it sounds t=like he may have
lived there at one point in his life. 3. A
Erin Beers 2015 54
4. We learn that Maxwell’s dad is a killer and serving time in prison for killing somebody. We
also learn that Kevin’s dad left when he learned that Kevin was going to be born with a disability. It
makes the reader sad, especially the way that Loretta seemed to share the info-with no couth.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 12
1. Clearly, Kevin has no respect for his dad’s decision to walk away from him and his
mother, so he seems to be able to move on, just like one does with trash, you don’t need it, so you put it
outside and out of your mind, like Kevin has done with his dad. 2. Students should be able to share that
they get shoes and clothing, but that it might not
be a favorite excursion. Maxwell seemed to feel challenged to find the right size of shoes and clothing. He
also doesn’t seem to enjoy having to try his clothes on. 3. Student answers will vary about Maxwell being
placed in class with Kevin considering the
comments from past teachers. 4. Together they are taller, more confident, smarter, and happier. They
seems to venture
out together optimistic and able to conquer the world, taking on any quest.
Independently they seem to struggle to find their best self.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 13
1. He has taught him how to read which no one has been able to do. He was probably
able to teach him because he was patient and Maxwell felt comfortable learning with him. 2. She was
probably going to share that his dad is getting out of prison and wants Maxwell
to live with him. 3. The event that was probably hardest was seeing his friend struggling to breathe
needing to go to the hospital because Kevin means everything to Maxwell. 4. He means that until this
year, he hadn’t really had any bad things happen on this day,
but today he was blasted with two bad luck situations.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 14
1. Kevin is convinced he needs a new body because his outsides are not growing, but his
insides are. 2. He is likely swearing him to secrecy because it is something that can’t truly happen. 3. B
4. He is probably worried about his dad getting out of prison and something happening to
Reader Response Questions Chapter 15
1. It is fun because Kevin and Gwen are celebrating with Maxwell, Grim, and Gram, but it is
stressful because Maxwell’s dad is getting out of prison. 2. A tale is a funny story that is meant to
entertain. A lie is a story that is intended to
deceive someone. 3. C 4. Kenny Kane is going to kidnap Maxwell and he may never see Grim,
Gram, or Kevin
Erin Beers 2015 55
Reader Response Questions Chapter 16
1. A chip off the old block means that they act or appear very similar. In this case, Kenny
Kane recognizes just how much Maxwell resembles him. 2. He has no money, food, or a place for them
to live. 3. C 4. He needs someone to help him find a place to live and now that he has Maxwell, hide
out. There don’t seem to be many, if any people that like him or are happy that he would be paroled.
Kenny Kane needs to take whatever help he can get!
Reader Response Questions Chapter 17
1. They likely aren’t the most law-abiding or trustworthy, but they may be the only people
that Kenny Kane feels he can trust after being in prison for 8 years. They are scared of him, so that fear
may make them do whatever Kenny Kane asks. 2. He is likely very scared. Depending on what he
knows, he hasn’t seen his dad in 8 years
and he was in prison. Based on everyone calling him Killer Kane, he is likely terrified of what could
happen. 3. B 4. He may know more about the situation with his mom and dad than he has led anyone to
believe. He never wants to talk about it and his dad has a very bad reputation.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 18
1. He is worried because Iggy could call the police and send Kenny Kane back to jail. 2. People trust
those that are Men and Women of God. If he appears to be one, they will
trust him and potentially give him money. Clearly, he has thought of every way possible to trick people
into thinking he is an honest man. 3. No! He is simply saying that to try to manipulate Maxwell like he
does the others he
encounters. 4. Kevin would bring the police to their apartment because they talked about Kenny Kane
when the boys returned the purse. Everyone knows he is up for parole and getting out of prison, so he
might head there.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 19
1. D 2. He is likely going to steal a car. 3. She feels safe because there are many police officers around
and Iggy is distracting him. 4. Some students would say that because of Kenny’s size and history, they
might not feel
comfortable attempting to rescue Maxwell.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 20
1. Maxwell yells at his dad, “I know you killed her because I saw you kill my mother.” Kenny
Kane gets mad and stops strangling Loretta. 2. He tells him that he wished he hadn’t broken the
window to get help for his mom
because it cost him a lot of years. 3. B 4. Kevin is able to convince Kenny that what he has sprayed is
sulfuric acid and will harm
him. He uses his brain and Maxwell’s speed and power to help Maxwell get to safety.
Erin Beers 2015 56
Reader Response Questions Chapter 21
1. Maxwell realizes that he is more than just a tough leader of a biker gang. Instead he
realizes that Iggy cares deeply for his wife and couldn’t imagine anything bad happening to her. 2.
Kevin is having trouble breathing due to his body growing on the inside and therefore
has to miss school for doctor’s appointments. This is hard on Maxwell because they get to spend a
great deal of time at school together. 3. B 4. He is worried that he might turn into some kind of killer like
his dad.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 22
1. Kevin is having a true birthday because he is turning 13 years old, but Kevin and Maxwell
became friends and became the dynamic duo, Freak the Mighty almost one year ago, so they are also
celebrating that occasion. 2. He is getting a computer because he really wants it, but also because his
health seems
to be deteriorating a bit and in order to keep learning, he can use the computer to help on the days when
he isn’t well enough to attend school. 3. He is having trouble breathing, he was taken by ambulance from
school, he is having a
seizure. 4. Student answers will vary, but should focus on a time when they were faced with a
situation that was out of their control.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 23
1. He is missing his buddy that he gets to do everything with, but especially lets him get lost
through their quests. 2. He got a tracheotomy to help him breathe. If he is bothered by the situation, you
never know because he always seems to find the bright in his sad situations. 3. Maxwell doesn’t get it,
but it means that he isn’t going to be leaving the hospital alive
ever, which is so very sad. 4. He wants him to write the rest of the adventures of Freak the Mighty. The
problem is that
Maxwell has never been a strong writer and the creative aspect of Freak the Mighty will be missing.
Reader Response Questions Chapter 24
1. He is confronted by nurses because Kevin has passed away and they are trying to make
the news easier for him to bear. 2. He goes crazy and busts up the hospital in hopes of getting
answers to why he is not
alive. 3. I think he wanted to believe it himself rather than face the idea of dying. He wanted the
idea of the robot body to be true. 4. He was hopeful
because he didn’t want to die.
Erin Beers 2015 57
Reader Response Questions Chapter 25
1. He did not attend Kevin’s funeral. Students might disagree with his decision in order to
pay respect to their deceased friend, but some others might agree with his decision. 2. Grim shares that
“many people go through life without ever having a friend like Kevin.” He is sharing how he should feel
grateful, but Maxwell is struggling to be at peace after his friend’s passing. 3. Students should be able to
come up with a response about a time when they grieved. 4. The reader learns that this novel is really
Maxwell’s account of his time with Kevin after
Kevin encouraged him to write it all down before he passed away. 5. Story Map:
Main Characters: Maxwell, Kevin, Maxwell and Kevin together as Freak the Mighty, Grim, Gram, Gwen,
Maxwell’s dad
Settings: Daycare, Maxwell’s room in Grim and Gram’s basement, the millpond, Kevin’s house, school, the
Significant Events: Maxwell lives with Grim and Gram because his dad killed his mother and his dad is in
prison. Kevin has a disorder where his body does not grow at a typical rate and his heart gets too big for his
body. Maxwell and Kevin become best friends known as “Freak the Mighty” Kevin saves Maxwell when his
dad kidnaps him after being paroled from prison. Kevin dies.
Theme: Good friends are truly hard to come by. Adversity is never easy, but it is a way of life.
Resolution: Maxwell writes the story of his time with Kevin to best understand all that Kevin taught him in their
short year of friendship together.
Figurative Language FINDS:
1. Hyperbole-it is sharing just how bright the sun felt to Maxwell once he was out of the
tenement basement. 2. Idiom-the idea of being put away forever is not like he is cleaned up, it means
that he
was supposed to be in prison for the rest of his life. 3. Simile-feeling like he is trapped underwater is
sharing how Maxwell feels helpless in the
situation with his dad. 4. Metaphor-the poison is the information that was shared with Maxwell that
Maxwell’s dad
tried to convince him wasn’t true. 5. Personification- Maxwell is sharing how the sun almost feels like it
is chasing him up the
Erin Beers 2015 58
Erin Beers 2015 59
Common Core Standards for Grades 6-8
Reading Literature: Key Ideas and Craft and Structure
6-8.RL.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says
explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
6-8.RL.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is
conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct
from personal opinions or judgments.
6-8.RL.3: Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a
series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the
plot moves toward a resolution.
6-8.RL.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in
a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of
a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
6-8.RL.5: Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits
into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the
theme, setting, or plot.
6-8.RL.6: Explain how an author develops the point of view of the
narrator or speaker in a text.
Writing: Production and Distribution of Writing
6-8.W.4: 4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development,
organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
6-8.L.5.1: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word
relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
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