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Classroom Ideas

Setting Sail on the Mayflower

I apologize for the horrid phone pics, but I had to share this fun impromptu activity we did today in preparation for Turkey Day next week.  We've been on a LONG learning expedition about explorers over the past 5 weeks.  We've had a lot of fun with it, but a couple of weeks ago we had a pretty lengthy discussion/debate whether or not we felt that the pilgrims were explorers or not.  Some students argued that you are an explorer if you set off into the unknown to you, and others said you had to be the first to journey somewhere.  This was a perfect jumping off place to discuss the pilgrimage to the New World, the pilgrims themselves, and of course the Native Americans that they encountered once they reached Plymouth. 
So this morning we started off our day "packing our bags" for our 65 day journey across the Atlantic.  We wrapped our mock journey up in one day...I get sea sick easily!  We talked about what a pilgrim might have packed, what necessities are, and what luxuries are when it comes to possessions. 
Love that this student packed her stuffed dog, brother (I taught him too and he's worth packing!), shelter, water, food, a LOT of books, and of course Trader Joe's.

Our science activity for the day was a lesson in buoyancy.  Students were given a small piece of modeling clay, a straw, and an index card.  With no teacher direction they had to design a ship that would stay a float.  I loved seeing how their designs differed, and the creativity that they put into these three simple materials.  After a bit of brainstorming time, I set up a few "Atlantic Oceans" around the classroom.  From there they were given the chance to set sail.  Many of them had to go back to the drawing board to design a boat that floated.  A great lesson in science and engineering!
For a free copy of the Pack My Bags printable visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

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