Our second grade classes are exploring forces, especially the concept of push and pull. Georgia Standards of Excellence: S2P2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to explain the effect of a force (a push or a pull) in the movement of an object (changes in speed and direction). I started thinking of books featuring a push or pull and thought of the traditional folk tale, The Great Big Enormous Turnip, written by Alexei Tolstoy. I like the version illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.
After reading the book we talked about how the people pulled on the turnip, creating a great force to get that vegetable out of the ground. We also made the connection to a similar experience they have every year at field day–the tug of war! I asked them to think of another person, animal or thing that could apply a force to get that turnip out.
Using paper and crayons they drew the turnip and how they imagined another version of the story. For the most part they came up with different ideas, gorillas, trucks, shovels, even Big Foot (when I told them to thing of something very strong). Some just illustrated the story (the old man, the old woman, grand-daughter, dog, cat and mouse); I guess I need to encourage them to think outside the box, use their imagination and get crazy!
I even bought a turnip as I figured few if any of the children would have eaten one. Several had heard of turnip greens (we are in the south after all).