From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Plot:
This is the story of twelve-year-old Claudia Kinkaid and her brother Jamie. Claudia decides to run away, taking her little brother along. They go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) in New York City, wandering the halls, joining tour groups, and hiding from guards at night. A new statue arrives at the museum that may or may not have been carved by Michelangelo. Claudia and Jamie decide to discover its origin, which leads them to the woman, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, who donated it. They work to discover the statue's secrets in her mixed-up files.

Problems identified by students:

  • Carrying around twenty-four dollars in loose change
  • Getting around the city and living in the museum without paying too much
  • Seeing the statue when it is always surrounded by crowds

Solutions designed by students:

  • A backpack with a padded false bottom to hide money and muffle the jingling of the change
  • A scooter made from found materials with a wheel system created from rows of Ping-Pong balls
  • A telescoping periscope with adjustable mirror flaps to see the statue over the heads of the adults

Grade:
3rd through 5th