A lot has happened to Ethan and Ally Coble since they moved to their Florida home. The Florida Quest brings even more excitement for them! Their friends, ‘Laptop’ Lauren and her brother, Zack, live in the town of Ponce Inlet. Lauren and Zack live in a big, old house with their father, Mr. Lambert and with Niki. Niki is a college student who works for the Lamberts, to make money to pay for her education.
Do you think you can track clues to help solve the mystery of the time capsule´s contents and those who buried it? Sharpen your sleuthing skills, because the Trackers can´t do it without your help! You will be the ones to solve the clues and write the answers carefully in your books. As you help the Trackers explore, pay careful attention to the story and read all the information provided. Then, complete the activities you find and write the answers in your book.
When you arrive at each (stop sign) in the story, you will see instructions for solving the clue. These instructions will help you figure out the answer by leading you to:
(a) search the newspaper, or
(b) watch a video on TV, or
(c) visit a website on your classroom computer, or
(d) complete an activity found in this book.
Once you´ve solved a clue, write your answers in the correct spaces in your book. In addition to clues, you´ll be looking for certain things about each of the clues in the time capsule. There are three main areas the Trackers -- and you -- will learn about in order to gain a better understanding of the role that Central Florida played in World War II.
The Terms to Know box at the beginning of each chapter lists some words that may be new to you. These words also appear in bold print in the story. You can learn the meanings of these words by looking them up in the Glossary in the back of the book.
HAVE FUN DISCOVERING HOMEFRONT AND HERITAGE!
Lauren, Zack, Ethan and Ally have formed a club. They call themselves the Trackers. Lauren, the oldest member, is the club leader. She is quite skilled at tracking clues. Lauren has some great resources at her fingertips. For example, she can access information in a split second with her laptop computer.
Lauren is quite mobile-although not the way most people are. She drives an automated wheelchair, named Clipper. Lauren decided on the name when she saw a model clipper ship her brother had built. She learned that a clipper is a very fast sailing vessel. Because Clipper cannot climb stairs, Mr. Lambert had an elevator installed when he bought the big Inlet house, so Lauren and Clipper could travel between the first and second floors.
At the very top of the Inlet house was an attic. When Zack first opened the creaky door at the top of the stairs and discovered the long, dark room on the other side, he knew it was perfect for the Trackers´ clubhouse. It was private, and there were shelves along the wall for the tools they needed: maps, globes, binoculars, flashlights, tape recorder, television, chalkboard and many books and newspapers for doing research.
Since the Trackers had a lot of work to do to get the room in shape, they took on their first mission: Operation Clean-Up. Zack dusted. Ethan swept. Ally hung two old pictures she found propped against a wall in a corner. Ethan and Ally pried open an antique trunk and discovered some back copies of The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
“Back copies,” Ally explained, “means that the newspapers are from past dates.”
The Trackers decided that the newspapers would be good resources for tracking clues, so they organized them by date and placed them beside their books on the shelves that ran along one wall.
As Zack was cleaning, he found out what made the room so dark. An old blanket had been slung over the window on the far wall. After pulling down the blanket, sunlight filtered into the attic. Peering out the window, the kids could see the ocean.
“Hey!” Ethan exclaimed. “This is that half-circle window at the top of the house, the one you can see from the driveway. Look, you can see the lighthouse from here!”
After polishing the window until it was crystal clear, the group turned to face their clubhouse. The light shining through the window formed a semicircle on the opposite wall.
“It looks like a half-moon. We can call the clubhouse Half-Moon Hideaway!” Zack exclaimed. “Best of all, no one will know about it except the Trackers!”
Ethan and Ally liked the name and Half-Moon Hideaway was established.
The elevator came in handy for hauling an old couch from the basement to the second floor. Niki helped carry it from there up to the attic. That´s when the group decided to make Niki an honorary member of the Trackers, since she knew about the Hideaway. Niki placed the couch to face a bulletin board on the opposite wall. Then, they all pushed the newspaper trunk to the center of the room in front of the couch, to serve as a table. As a finishing touch, Lauren donated a chair from her bedroom and it was placed at one end of the trunk.
Three of the Trackers stood back and smiled with approval at their new clubhouse. Something was missing. What was it? Oh yes-Lauren! How was the club´s leader going to get up to Half-Moon Hideaway? The elevator did not run all the way to the attic. The Trackers found themselves in quite a jam.
Lauren had been waiting at the bottom of the stairs while the clubhouse took shape above her. Now, the others decided to meet at the kitchen table so she could help solve the problem. Lauren was determined to find a way to travel to and from the attic.
“Think, think,” she urged her fellow Trackers.
It was Zack who thought of Captain Wellington. “Remember the sea captain who lives close to the Inlet, the man with the British accent? He´s always tinkering around with things. Let´s see if he can invent something!”
As it turned out, the Captain was able to help the Trackers with their problem. When all was said and done, Lauren could travel up to Half-Moon Hideaway any time she wanted on her new lift, as Captain Wellington called it. The Trackers decided to name it the Wellington Lift, in honor of the captain. He smiled at the gesture and explained that a lift is what the British call an elevator.
Now, to get to Half-Moon Hideaway, Lauren drives Clipper off the elevator onto the second floor, then onto a small, metal platform at the bottom of the attic stairs. She locks Clipper into place on the lift and pushes a button. The lift safely raises her along the staircase to the door of the clubhouse.
Special Project: THE FLORIDA QUEST
Laptop Lauren and the Trackers are the main characters in the Florida Quest, a 4-week, multi-media project involving thousands of students in Volusia and Flagler counties. In this quest they discover Homefront and Heritage!