Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Katy and the Big Snow

Our first Five in a Row book for the new year was Katy and the Big Snow.  There were lots of topics to cover.
  • We talked about kinds of weather and began keeping a record of the weather for January.  I printed out a blank calendar and used address labels to make stickers of different kinds of weather.  K enjoyed deciding on a sticker for each day's weather and affixing it to the calendar.  
  • We talked about street signs and K did an interactive online quiz.
  • We talked about map directions and drew a map of our neighborhood.  I also made a treasure hunt with directions such as "walk west until you reach the door".  As the hunt progressed, the directions became a little more difficult, such as "now turn east and walk five steps".   I gave her a compass to help her remember the directions.  She loved this and asked if I would make more treasure hunts for her to follow.
  • Another day we looked at all the diferent buildings and businesses described in Katy and discussed how they help a town function.  I put butcher paper on the floor and K built her own city with blocks. Then she drew in the roads.  She called her town Care Street.  We talked about what the people in her city would need--hospital, post office, fire station, etc.  One thing she was sure of:  a pool was essential.  Of course, T wanted to help with this project and built his own large building in the center of town.  We had recently talked about the boy Jesus helping his father Joseph the carpenter, so K explained that T's creation was the town carpenter shop.
  • We looked at some Youtube videos of snowplows in action.  Katy is a v-plow, used for punching through snowdrifts.  We don't have that kind of snowplow here, so it was interesting to watch them break through the large drifts, sending snow flying.  How does a snowplow push snow?  I cut up plastic cups to show how the c-shape pushes the snow to the side.  The cups were rather flimsy and if I were to do this again, I'd try to find a sturdier material.  But the kids enjoyed experimenting with their "snowplows" in a box of sand.

The book proudly says that Katy had a 55 horsepower engine. K wondered what horsepower was, and being rather vague on the term myself, I referred that question to the man of the house.  So later at dinner, B explained that 1 horsepower is a load that one horse could pull.  So Katy was stong enough to do the work of 55 horses.  Sounds impressive until B told us that today's cars and trucks usually have about  100 horsepower.  An eighteen wheeler has 500 horsepower.  And, he said, a race car can have 1000.  How times have changed.  Made me realize how years ago, when people did so much work by hand and with the help of horses, a "horsepower" measurement would have had real meaning.  Today, so much is dependent on seamlessly running powerful machines and computers.  A horsepower is an abstract concept to the average person. 
  • As Katy and the Big Snow is a classic story, we also made a timeline to show when it was written in comparison to when members of the family were born.  I printed out the pages showing the years from the present back to the 1930s and it stretched out 8 feet.  We put pictures of K and T on the years they were born, then we aded B and I, and then we added all the grandparents.  Katy was written in 1943--roughly the time some of the grandparents were born, so I think seeing all the years laid out helped K begin to have an idea of the passage of time.  We hung the timeline along the stairs and after the lesson, T enjoyed pointing to the pictues as he went up at bedtime.  He told each of the grandparents goodnight as he passed them.

Katy and the Big Snow was a great book and K wasn't the only one who learned something!


Anonymous said...

Excellent teaching! -- Dad

Dana said...

Goodness, I feel like I learned a lot just reading about it!