Tag Archives: research

Crime and Puzzlement:

OK, esteemed colleagues: because they continue to be the most frequently downloaded files from Mark’s Text Terminal, here is another complete Crime and Puzzlement lesson plan, this one on the “Murder in a Bookstore.”

I begin this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Aesop’s fables. You won’t be able to do much without this PDF of the illustration and questions that drive this lesson. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Osiris’s Twin Symbols of Power

“Flail * Crook

The Flail and Crook of Osiris symbolize the two harvests achieved by the farmer and the shepherd and are one of the root sources for all symbols of power, notably the medieval orb and sceptre favored by European royalty. In southern Asia, this is mirrored by the ritual sceptre (the Rodge) held in the right hand and a bell (the Drilbu) in the left of Indian statues. In Buddhist depictions the left hand my hold a Buddhist jewel, whilst the right hand is open in a gesture of sending blessings to the earth.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.


“One of the finest painted caves, and also one of the first to be discovered (in 1879). The site is south of Santander, in northeast Spain, and is famous for its polychrome animals [40], which include deer, bison, and wild boar painted in red, black, and a range or earth colors. Most of the art in the caves was produced by Magdalenian peoples.”

Excerpted from: Bray, Warwick, and David Trump. The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Penguin, 1984.


Aztecs: A Nahuatl-speaking tribe of Indians who dominated much of Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest (1519-1521) under Hernan Cortez. In the 12th century, the Aztecs moved into the valley of Anahuac from the northwest and gradually subdued neighboring tribes, turning them into tribute-paying vassals. The “emperor” of the Aztecs was chosen by a supreme council, which represented the twenty clans that comprised the Aztec tribe.

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Delmira Agustini

Delmira Agustini: (1886-1914) Uruguayan poet. Together with Gabriela Mistral, Juana de Ibarbourou, Alfonsina Storni, and Dulce Maria Loynaz, Agustini is one of the key voices in the rich tradition of Spanish American poetry by women. Influenced by Ruben Dario’s Modernismo, her poetry is marked by sensuality and eroticism. Agustini published three collections of poetry: El libro blanco (1907); Cantos de la manana (1910); and Los calices vacios (1913). At the time of her death, she was working on Los astros del abismo (1954). Agustini’s biography has drawn almost as much attention as her writing. She was raised in cultivated and conventional surroundings in Montevideo, but was murdered by her estranged husband less than a year after their marriage.

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Ten Days that Shook the World

Ten Days that Shook the World: A book (1919) by the US journalist John Reed (1887-1920), an eyewitness account of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. Reed, who came from a wealthy background, was one of the leading radical figures in the USA, became a friend of Lenin and helped to found the US Communist Party. Accused of treason in the USA, he fled to Soviet Russia, where he died of typhus. After his death the US Communist Party established many John Reed’ clubs for writers and artists in US cities. His life is the subject of the film Reds (1981), directed by and starring Warren Beatty.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Historical Terms: Balance of Power

Balance of power: Diplomatic policy aimed at securing peace, particularly in Europe, by preventing any one state of alignment of states from attaining hegemony or military strength dangerous to the independence and liberty of the others. The policy is thus based on the maintenance of a counter-force equal to that of potential hegemonists. Britain had pursued such a policy for centuries to counter French predominance, but from 1904 to 1914 attempted to balance German power through the Entente Cordiale. A balance emerged between the Triple Entente of Britain, France and Russia and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria and Italy. Between the world wars, Britain at first attempted to balance French power by facilitating the rapid recovery of Germany, but later abandoned her balance of power policy in favor of appeasement….”

 Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.