Literature Connection:

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt

Mathematical Strand:



Students will use estimation skills to calculate distance traveled and then will calculate walking rate traveled in MPH.

Grade Level:


Lesson Created by:

Shelley Faerber, Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Manhattan, KS.

Lesson Description:


  • the novel, Homecoming, and an atlas

1. Launching the lesson

  1. Read the novel Homecoming
  2. Discuss the setting and plot, highlighting the travels of the four children from Connecticut to Maryland.

2. Develop the lesson

  1. List each of the stops/cities named along the character's voyage from Connecticut to Maryland.
  2. Dicey estimates that it is going to take them 2-3 days of walking to get there. What is your estimate?
  3. Look at an atlas and locate the starting point in Provincetown, CT and the ending point in Maryland. Calculate (using the scale or mile markings) the exact distance (using a computer program such as Mapquest would be good too).
  4. Calculate the MPH walking if Dicey really did meet her expectation of getting there in 2-3 days.
  5. Now look in the novel and determine (from the events listed) how long it actually took Dicey and her siblings to walk that distance.
  6. Calculate the average MPH they traveled throughout this book.

3. Closure/Elaboration

  1. Was the author’s representation of the travels vs. days it took to travel realistic?
  2. How fast do you think that distance could be traveled on a bike? In a car? In a plane?

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University