If you’ve come to know my units, you’ll find the same sort of critical thinking and hands-on exploration and creativity here . . .
Come all the way across the curriculum from READING to STEM activities in this hands-on unit. My advanced group 2nd graders loved this! I would use this for advanced 1st graders in their second semester or 3rd grade as well. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say 4th graders would enjoy it as well.
“Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express” is a Reading Rainbow book.
Level: advanced 1st (second semester), advanced 2nd, regular to advanced 3rd, 4th grade
Materials: commonly found in classrooms
Time: around 4+ hours total
Primary Photo Analysis: Students observe and think about a photo of a high railroad bridge—the Kate Shelley Bridge—in Iowa.
Structural Strength of Triangles: Students use measuring tools to accurately draw and measure parallel lines onto cardstock. They cut out cardstock strips and assemble them into squares and triangles for a hands-on feel to prove that a triangle is stronger than a square.
Design a Steel Viaduct Bridge: Students design their own steel viaduct using what they know about triangles and bridges. Students use simple mathematical scale to determine the height of the bridge and brainstorm comparisons.
“Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express”: Students use their new understanding to create strong background knowledge for Kate’s story. We use my “Primary GATE with Caldecott” process to think critically about the book and to participate in the reading of the story. Have your students try to “Kate Walk.” It’s fun!
Kate’s Actions: Meeting standards of plot and characterization through an analysis of Kate’s actions in a ready-to-print activity sheet.
Theme and Morse Code: Young readers explore theme and main idea through a graphic organizer and then tap out their own Morse Code to share their ideas. Very popular activity!