Sunday, May 16, 2010

Paddle-to-the-Sea, lessons 6-11

You can find our first 5 lessons here.

6. Paddle Meets a Sawmill

We briefly discussed diameter and what it meant that the log Paddle was stuck to was 4' thick. (In retrospect, I should have had the kids make a circle with a 4' diameter on the floor with yarn. Hindsight.) We talked about the spikes on the loggers boots and how the bull chain worked. We thought of other examples of a chain and gears or other examples of conveyer belts. We didn't have anything to build a bull chain or a conveyer belt with, but we did get out the K-Nex set and build some gear assemblies.

7. Paddle Meets a Friend

We studied the diagram of the sawmill in the book and talked about what happened at each part of the process. We talked about why the Frenchman dropped Paddle back into the river and why he added something to the message carved in Paddle's canoe. Then the kids each drew a detailed diagram of a factory from their imaginations.

8. The Largest Lake in the World

During the reading we discussed migration a little as we talked about the bird that landed on Paddle to rest. After the reading we did a lot of mapping. We had already traced the outlines of the five Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River during our activites for lesson 2. Now, I got their maps back out and they labeled Lake Nipigon, Lake Superior, and the Provence of Ontario. We reviewed some of the facts about Lake Superior. Then we marked Paddle's starting point, and used a pencil to draw in Paddle's route so far. "That's it?" asked Toa. "That's all he's gone? He has a long way to go!"

9. Paddle Crosses Two Borders

We discussed what driftwood was and the different types of grain. We talked about all the foods that can be made from various grains. We used a red colored pencil to trace the U.S/Canada border on our maps. We colored a dark green area around Lake Nipigon to show the tall pine forests. We colored a light green area in central Canada to show the grain fields. We drew a tiny railroad from the grain fields to Thunder Bay. We traced more of Paddles short route so far.  I was going to do a cooking project with them, finding and using a recipe that called for many different kinds of grains....but the house was overflowing with muffins, cookies, cake, and brownies, so we skipped the cooking project.

10. Life in a Northern Marsh

After the reading, we made a list of all the plants and animals that Paddle encountered in the marsh. We looked through magazines (a friend had given us a number of National Park and National Wildlife magazines) and we cut out pictures of those plants and animals. The kids each made a collage of the plants and animals of a northern wetland.

11. Paddle Finds One End of Lake Superior

Back to the map to label Minnesota and Wisconsin and to draw more of Paddles route. We put red dots on the map for the cities of Duluth and Superior. We started a rust science experiment in four clear plastic cups. We labeled the cups "control", "air and water", "no air, no water," and "water, no air". Then I cut four sections of steel wool approxiamately equal sizes. (Plain steel wool, not S.O.S pads coated in cleanser). We placed the control in its cup without doing anything to it. We soaked the two 'water' sections with 5 mL of water each, and then wrapped the "water, no air" tightly in plastic wrap before putting it in its cup. Likewise, we wrapped the "no air, no water" in plastic wrap and put it in its cup. The "air and water" section, nicely soaked, went into its cup as well. We set all four cups on the kitchen window sill, since we do most of our projects in the kitchen. It might have been interesting to do another set of four cups to place someplace dark. So far, we've had to pour a little more water in the "air and water" sample because it keeps drying out. Yeah, yeah, sue me for sloppy science. Before we put the steel wool away, we snipped off a tiny bit of it and the kids grabbed some magnets. We talked about how the steel wool was made from iron and was, therefore magnetic. Finally, we headed downstairs and listened to a cd called Listening to the Loons, part of a series called Solitudes. (Before reaching the western end of Lake Superior, Paddle drifted past a mostly wilderness border and encountered some loons. I think the loon has such an interesting sound, I wanted the kids to hear it.)


Kim said...

I love seeing what you have done with your lessons with paddle to the sea from chapter 1-11. Do you have any further post for lessons after chapter 11?

Mrs Random said...

Hey Kim,

I know we did other things, but I don't think I was a faithful at writing them down. I'm on the road right now, but nudge me about this again after mid-May and I'll brainstorm on what else we did for you!