Thursday, 8 March 2012

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

We rowed one of Harry's favourite books this week and really enjoyed the activities. Review

Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Mary Anne make quite a team. The inseparable duo digs the great canals for the big boats to travel through, cuts through the large mountains so that the trains could pass and hollows out the deep cellars for the great skyscrapers in the city. But the introduction of gasoline, electric and diesel shovels means big trouble for Mike and Mary Anne. No one wants an old-fashioned steam shovel like Mary Anne when a modern shovel can do the digging in half the time! Forced to travel far out of the city to look for work, Mike and Mary Anne find themselves in the little town of Popperville. Mike and Mary Anne make a bid to dig the cellar for the new town hall, promising the town that if they can't dig the cellar in just one day then no payment for the job is required. Will Mike and Mary Anne be able to complete the job? The whole town of Popperville turns out to watch. Virginia Lee Burton, author of such classic children's books as The Little House and Katy and the Big Snow, offers a touching portrait of love and dedication while commenting on the modernization that continuously shapes our lives. Hamilton's wonderful crayon drawings bring Mike and the indomitable Mary Anne to life.

The blog post below, which inspired our kitchen/science activity, tied in very well with the fact that it is Stuart's birthday today, so we had a birthday cake ready too!

We re-created the neat and square cake with a cut-out cellar and Harry found a digger toy to go in the cellar as Mary-Anne. He did really well remembering what ingredients we would need for a basic cake, breaking and whisking the eggs and dusting the icing sugar.

We looked more at squares. Firstly we took two paper squares and folded them to see how they made rectangles and triangles.

I had drawn a series of squares and cut out shapes to fill the squares. Harry fitted the shapes into the squares so we could see how a variety of straight sided shapes can make a square. We talked about why circles could never make a square and Harry asked me to cut some so he could check.

We used this template from Kids Craft Weekly to make a digger with moving parts - Moving digger craft

I had envisaged this being a bit more involved than it actually was. Harry just wanted to colour it with his new twisty crayons, but he was quite impressed with it and took it away to play a game with!

We watched some videos on YouTube of steam shovels and talked about why the steam shovels were replaced by diesel machines. Harry had some sensible ideas - he thought that the diesel machines might be able to dig more in one day. I think we will cover the age of steam in much more detail another time. We also found this great animation of the story, which enthralled both Harry and Peter when we watched at snack time.

We may well be playing that video again!

1 comment:

  1. What a productive day you have all had, Brilliant idea with the shapes & how you incorporate things from the from the book into a 'doing' activity Hayley. Love Stuart's birthday cake by the way, i bet harry was beaming with pride when daddy came home from work.