Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Written by Meg Medina

Publisher’s Summary:
Merci Suárez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition.

Primary Source Pairing:
Sixth grade is full of adventures for Merci both at school and at home. As Merci navigates the day to day, she wears her heart on her sleeve and uses her camera to help capture and process the world around her. During the Great Tomb Project of the sixth-grade curriculum, Merci and her classmates study ancient civilizations including hieroglyphs. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study a piece of Hieroglyphs from the tomb of Seti I. As an extension, students can write their own messages like Merci does in Chapter 17. You can see her message to Michael on page 195. Use a hieroglyphs alphabet chart, like this one on Wikipedia, to create the messages.

Questions for Discussion:

  • What do you notice first?
  • What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • What do you notice about the page the writing appears on?
  • What other details can you see?
  • What do you think was happening when it was created?
  • What tools and materials were used to create it?
  •  What can you learn from examining this?
  • If someone created something like this today, what would be different?
  • What would be the same?
  • Consider how people in ancient civilizations used hieroglyphs to communicate with each other. How is this similar to the way we communicate today? How it is different?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Hieroglyphs from the tomb of Seti I: Wikipedia
Common Hieroglyphic Forms (1888): Wikipedia