Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Homemade Compass for Katy and the Big Snow

Recently the girls have shown more interest in school and as a result I have started going through Five in a Row (volume 1) with them. Honestly it isn't much different then some of the things we would normally do like book related activities, but it gives a great guideline that ties tons of topics into a single book (which you read each day for five days).  The makers of Five in a Row only expect you to discuss each topic or do a small project, but we all know I have to further with, well, everything, and add something hands on.  So the first book we chose was Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton; because at the time, we had a big snow!

One thing we went over with this book was cardinal directions and reading maps. My girls have only had to read maps before for things like treasure hunts, so this was new. Especially when we threw the directions in with it! We decided to make a map of our neighborhood, and to help with the directions we made a compass.  

To do this you need a strong magnet, a needle, a piece of cork or styrofoam, and a glass of water.

Start by rubbing your magnet on the needle; always going the same direction. Then insert your needle into your cork or styrofoam and place gently in your glass of water. The needle should spin around and point to north. (More complete instructions at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration)

Obviously, while standing in my kitchen, I knew where north was, but to show the girls that we actually did make a compass I got out a real compass to compare. And look! They point the same way! 

With this information we were able to make our map.  I drew our house and a little compass on and then started asking then what would be north, south, east, or west of our house. At first they struggled a bit, so I would point int he direction and tell them to imagine they were standing outside, what would they see.  Eventually they caught on, and I was able to ask them which directions things even farther away (like Grandma's) would be. 

They got the idea pretty well and went back to the book and were easily able to read the directions on the map and figure out which way Katy drove while she was clearing snow. 

Over the 5 days of reading and discussing Katy and the Big Snow the girls came to really enjoy the book and remember the lessons taught by it.  I definitely think they will enjoy Five in a Row, and I am sure you will be seeing more book based activities to go along with it!