Teacher’s Questions for Explosive pursuits


Before reading:

1. Explosions may cause harm. They may also be useful. Can you name some examples of each?

During reading:

1. Flowers are sometimes said to “explode in bloom.” Can they really?

2. Explain why the video camera that snapped 1,000 frames per second wasn’t able to capture a bunchberry dogwood as it blossomed.

3. How did Edwards discover what triggers the flower to explode?

4. What is the advantage of the bunchberry dogwood’s being pollinated by bees instead of ants?

5. Why would a device that can concentrate TNT molecules in the air make them easier to detect?

6. Name the property of zeolite that made it useful for Yan’s work.

7. Describe how the vacuum helps Yan’s device concentrate TNT.

8. How are explosions useful in mining?

9. What is the effect of a powerful pressure wave on rock?

10. List some of the dangers associated with explosions.

After reading:

1. Did reading the story change your mind about the danger and/or the usefulness of explosions? Why or why not?

2. Can you think of other examples of explosions that occur naturally?


1. Humans have harnessed explosions for many different uses in war and peace. Do you see our use of explosions more as a positive or negative? Explain your answer.