Friday, September 20, 2013

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

We were off to New York for our next Five in a Row book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.  This is the classic story about a little lighthouse that feels important until a huge bridge is built nearby.

It was fun to look at photos of the real Little Red Lighthouse with the Great Gray Bridge next to it to see the contrast in size between the two.

It just so happened that we rowed this book around Presidents Day.  In real life, the Great Gray Bridge is the George Washington Bridge.  What better time to learn about the president this bridge was named for?  So we spent a couple days learning about George Washington.  One of activities we did was this cute Interview with George Washington reader's theater.  Another fun project was a portrait of George Washington.  Here is how K's portrait turned out.  The directions said to use part of a paper doily for the lace shirt accent, but not having a doily on hand, we used a bit of Kleenex.

We also briefly studied Abe Lincoln as well.

Then it was on to a study of bridges.  We did several experiments exploring the different types of bridges and seeing what kind of construction made for the strongest bridge.  The Tinderbox explanation of their studies was most helpful.  In the following pictures you'll see K and T trying out a suspension bridge and then a suspension combined with an arch bridge.  It was really interesting to see how these variations made the bridges stronger.

Then we built some file card bridges and tested to see how many pennies they would hold.

16 pennies
36 pennies

68 pennies

Ran out of pennies

As you can see, the accordian fold was by far the strongest.  So if you do this experiment, be prepared.  You'll need a lot of pennies.

We also spent a day talking about rivers.  We looked at a map of New York to follow the Hudson River to its source in the Catskill Mountains.  We talked about how rivers always flow downhill and made a playdoh model of a river running down a mountain into the sea.

Then we talked about the river that is closest to us, the Columbia River.  We looked at Google Maps and tried to trace the Columbia back to its source.  That actually was a bit difficult as it eventually became tough to tell which was the Columbia with all the resevoirs and dams collecting water from different rivers.  Then we went the opposite direction and followed the Columbia all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Finally, we learned about lighthouses.  K and T worked together to build a model of a lighthouse.


The picture is dark so you can see that the flashight was on.  We used one of the kids' tone bells for the Little Red Lighthouse's warning bell.  I don't remember what the the wood structure behind the bell was, but I think T insisted that it be there.  The kids had a lot of fun playing with the lighthouse and used it to act out stories for several days after.  The stories had nothing to do with the Little Red Lighthouse as you can see from all the extra characters, but fun nevertheless.

We have a small lighthouse near us, so one day after church we stopped by to look at it on our way home.  It was a cold, super-windy day, so we just took a short look around then ran back to the car.  We were disappointed to not be able to go inside, but a lady who also happened to be there told us you can make an appointment to see the inside.  Maybe we'll do that someday.

This was a fun book to row.  I think we all learned a lot.

1 comment:

Joelle said...

Again - FUN!!!

I would have done some bridge experiments, but moving messed up the plan :) Nice lighthouse also. You are such a fun teacher!!!