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For Readers Age 9 - 12
Grades 4th - 8th

The 39 Clues Book 7: The Viper's Nest - Suggested Activities
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Suggested Activities

In Book 7, Amy and Dan cross two very different continents: Indonesia and South Africa! If you have started to map their adventures from the earlier book, add these locations to your list:

Important places and things:


See what you can find out about Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, and the oceans surrounding Indonesia including Java Sea.

South Africa - Check out this South Africa country profile including map

While there, see if you can locate the following:

  • Tambo International Airport

  • Cities like Madagascar, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Witbank (now Emalahleni), and Durban, where the story tells us Shaka was buried.

  • Notable civic services like the state library, government archives, University of South Africa, National Cultural History Museum, and Hillbrow Tower. Is it really one of South Africa’s tallest structures?

  • Then check out areas of terrain and natural features such as Constitution Hill Swaziland, Banhine National Park in Mozambique. Are there any other areas on the map that you recognize?

Important people and culture:

You can find South African history at which includes classroom materials and an online library! Their culture and society page provides information on many of the people, issues and museums talked about in this book.  See if you can find more about these historical facts mentioned in the book:

  • Transvaal region controlled by Dutch

  • Boer (farmer) war

  • History of 17th century Dutch, German and French Huguenot farmers, Afrikaners

  • History of gold diamond mining

  • Shaka, Zulu leader

  • Henry Francis Fynn...did he really save Shaku’s life?

Apartheid was an important part of South Africa’s history, ending in 1994. Our story talks about Bantustans—areas for colored African natives to live during apartheid. It mentions the Soweto student uprising in the 70’s, and Nelson Mandela. Racism was also part of America’s history, particularly in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Research this time period in both countries and compare.

Was Winston Churchill really a reporter or journalist before becoming prime minister, and was he jailed in South Africa? Well, find out!

The properties of the aloe plant is important in this story. Some Zulu terms are used when speaking of this plant include Isipho (gift) and umhlaba (earth, land). Look into other words in the Zulu language and see if you can speak Zulu!

Music & Arts:

Music is so important in this story that it needs its own category!

Conduct a search similar to Amy’s in the Java library on glees, shanties, fight songs, Madrigals and motets...what are the differences between these various types of music? And the sheet music Marching to Pretoria, what type of song is it?

Check out the play “A Lesson from Aloes” by Athol Fugard available on Google:

Is there really a Harvard Glee Club? Yes! Perhaps you are near their concert tour and can attend!


The Krakratau rakata (Volcano) erupted in 1883, which the book states as one of the worst natural disasters in history; compare this to the tsunami in 2004. What is the difference between a rakata and a tsunami?

Our characters use nautical terminology like ‘hard to port and starboard. What do these mean? Check out these and other interesting words at  (while there, look at their cool shipwrecks too!) Then invent your own glossary of terms for riding your bike or in the car! What would be the starboard? Who is the wheelsman?

Amy and Dan spend a lot of time on planes. What are the differences between a prop plane and a 767 jetliner?

Amy and Dan find that the aloe is highly regarded by the African people. Look into it further. Then grow one yourself and be a healer in your family! Can’t find one at your local Target or garden shop? Buy online.

Perhaps Africa is best known for its wildlife such as hyenas, lions, elephants and the like. But it also has less known creatures such as its creepy crawlies. National Geographic has great pictures of these  and, while you are there, check out their games and activities too!

If learning nautical language or Zulu doesn’t catch your fancy, then try Morse code! Decipher the code from Hamilton Holt found on pages 61-62 in our book.


Discuss how to build positive relationships and dealing with conflict constructively, as Amy and Dan do pages 84-85.

(For more suggested reading, visit our bookstore.)




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