Strong STEM-literacy springboard activities with this nonfiction piece! Pair it thematically with my Mirette on the High Wire Caldecott lessons, and the students will experience literature from inside to outside and from up to down.
You get instructions, ready-to-print activity sheets, Common Core references, and everything you need to set you down the path on this book. Make a quick trip to the local craft store for a really cool extension, or just use common materials in the classroom to get started today.
Time: more than 3 hours to 6 hours depending on what you choose to do
Level: GATE 2nd grade or 3rd grade and beyond in the regular classroom
Cost: nothing unless you build the crafty little teeter-totters
Primary Source Photos: We begin with two related primary source photos from the United States Library of Congress (public domain). We will work on noticing details, explanations, and drawing inferences. Our goal is to produce—orally and visually—what is the equivalent to an excellent written response. We must cite details from the source, provide explanations, and use logic to support an opinion.
How Tall are the Towers? Let’s get a sense for just how tall the Twin Towers are. We complete is a ready-to-print math activity, a bonus challenge activity, and sample responses to add to our background knowledge.
Critical Thinking Questions: One thing that makes this a gifted and talented lesson are the ways to answers to the critical thinking questions are supported. While most any students can answer the questions, we want our junior GATE kids to gather details which logically support their responses. Gently prod students to explain with specific details from the narratives, the pictures, and from their experience in life. One of the magic qualities of good literature is that we are able to identify with the characters and situations from our own lives.
Bird’s Eye View Perspective: We see many fabulous bird’s eye view perspectives in this book, so let’s explore bird’s eye view perspective further by interpreting pictures we see and creating our own. In addition, working with alternative visual perspectives is a great way to ramp up levels of Depth of Knowledge and particularly suited for the visual tendencies of our gifted 21st Century Learners.
Walking the High Wire Activity and Physics Background Information: In order to build background for our science/STEM exploration, our students walk a simulated “high wire” where they will make observations and share explanations. In addition, students will glean information from the PBS Kids video linked further below.
Teetering and Tottering – Physics Experiment: This may seem like a simple little experiment, but my 2nd graders found this quite challenging and fun. Students use miniature teeter-totters to discover the relationship between mass and balance/position. They’ll also practice millimeter-level measurement and data collection/interpretation.
Optional: Students build the miniature teeter-totters themselves for an excellent engineering challenge.