Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel was the second book we "rowed" in the Five in a Row series. This is a wonderful book, and we learned many valuable lessons from Mike Mulligan and his beloved steam shovel, Mary Anne.
The setting for this book is fictitious Popperville, USA. So we had a discussion about where to place the story disk on our map. Old Crow noticed that it showed snow in the winter scene so he chose North Dakota as the location of the story...good reasoning skills ;)
To learn about steam and how it could make power, we boiled some water and let the steam "power" our pinwheel. This didn't work quite as well as I wanted. Maybe I should buy a tea kettle for this next time.
Mary Anne had to dig a cellar that was "neat and square." So we talked about the need for math in construction. We used Legos and built our own cellar "near and square."
To act out how steam shovels had to dig through the mountains in order for railroads to be built, we did a recreation in our yard. :) I made a "mountain" of dirt and the boys used small construction trucks to remove the dirt in the center of the mountain. Then we were able to lay the railroad tracks.
For art, we studied the way to draw trees. We looked through the book and found trees that were small and seemed far away. We also found trees that appeared close-up and showed lots of branches. We attempted to make our own close-up and far away trees.
This book offers a lesson on personification. So we looked through our playroom and found some examples of personification.
And with Mike Mulligan taking such good care of his Mary Anne, it was a great chance to talk about being a good steward. We had teachable moments on the value and virtue of stewardship.
Next up is The Story about Ping and our study of China. Lots of fun things planned!! Old Crow calls it "fun learning." I would agree. ;)