For two weeks we rowed the book Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, this book is part of the Five in a Row Vol. 1 unit study.
The book is about a man named Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne. They have a very important jobs, digging deep canals, cutting mountain passes for trains, and digging deep cellars for big city skyscrapers. But progress comes, and steam shovels are no longer needed. What will happen to this great duo!? Find out for yourself in this wonderful story.
I couldn’t wait to read this book with Big D! Since Big D was 1 1/2 he has had a wonderful obsession with all things related to construction.
I surprised the boys our first morning with a construction man’s breakfast. We had eggs, oj, bananas, and an English muffin. Okay, I know it’s not exactly a construction man’s breakfast, but this was a last minute idea. We did talk about what they might eat? Like bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy, with a little heart burn and indigestion on the side.
After breakfast Big D was dying to get his digger off the table and play. So play he did!
This story tied in nicely with our 12 Character Concepts we are learning about. This month we worked on learning all about Diligence: doing my best at every task given to me.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1Corinthians 10:31
With this story we talked about how hard Mike worked. Even when no one wanted the steam shovels, Mike did his best to find jobs, and when he got the job in Popperville he worked extra hard.
I was given this Usborne internet linked book by a friend and it came in very handy when we started talking about steam.
We talked a little about how water can exist in three different forms: solid, liquid, and gas.
The boys took ice cubes and put them into a container. I told the boys we were going to leave the container of ice out to see what would happen. I asked Big D if he knew what would happen to the ice and he said “it will melt!”
2. Liquid: water
When we filled the container with ice, we filled it to the top. When the ice melted I asked the boys if there was as much water in the container as there was ice. Big D immediately noticed that the water was lower than the ice.
3. Gas: Steam
In the book Five in a Row it gives a template for a pinwheel to make, so you can test out steam power. I used our water from above and turned on the kettle to make some steam. Big D held the pinwheel, it turned with the steam.
Through another great blog I learned about this DVD. So I too found the DVD at the Library, and the boys and I watched and learned about the cycle of a raindrop. My older son really enjoyed this DVD and learned a lot. He talked about rain and evaporation for a few days.
I had heard about Maestro Classics, and decided to check it out. I went to iTunes and downloaded one song. It was the jazz arrangement, and it was a fun little song! (I would download the cute video of him singing, but of course I’m having technical difficulties.)
You can listen to snippets of the songs for yourself by clicking on the CD below.
Since we were talking about steam, we took a field trip to the museum where they have a replica of a steam boat.
The boys watching the piston move to make the paddle wheel move.
Construction Time! I hauled out a big storage bin from under my bed and emptied its contents, I then filled it with an assortment of beans and heavy equipment.
The boys had so much fun playing!
In the end they played “lets get in the bin!”
I found some pictures of construction equipment for Big D to color. He is not into coloring and finds it tedious. Hmmm? Not sure if I should push him or let this be?
Drawing – Trees
In the FIAR book one of the activities is to look at the pictures of the trees in the book. Some are drawn from an aerial view and some are close up.
Big D drew two trees one was a close up view with lots of branches and the other was a stick with a green bushy top.
Big D painted his backhoe. We let it dry, then mom cut it out and put it together.
Language – Vocab
Canal – I found a book at our Library on the Panama Canal. This book had a few good pictures of steam shovels digging the canal, and it was also good at explaining what a canal is.
Now every time Big D eats oatmeal or yogurt he makes canals and dams. I really shouldn’t let him play with his food!
We made a cake, and “dug” a hole with four corners neat and square.
The boys could not wait to dig in and eat! Yum!!!
Something for Mom
If you like Virginia Lee Burton’s stories, I suggest you check out this book for yourself. What I found fascinating was that she designed fabrics; Folly Cove Designers made place mats, skirts, aprons, and table runners all from the fabrics she designed. There are also a lot of great pictures of her drawings in the book. I found this book through my local library.
The finished lap book
I can’t say enough great things about Five in a Row! It is a really great way to introduce your children to some wonderful stories, and it’s a great excuse to sit and relax while everyone cuddles together reading on the couch! Just the other day my oldest brought two books that we had already read and wanted them read again! Wow! I love my cuddle time with the boys!!
Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com