I think that you can use a Transportation theme to teach lots of curriculum objectives. In science I covered force and motion, push and pull, and float and sink. In math we classified, measured, and compared. We talked about mapping skills for Social Studies, as well as different kinds of transportation careers. Just as with most themes, transportation gives you great opportunities to read great books, retell stories, develop new vocabulary, help children build important connections, and write about their ideas.
I defined transportation for my class as ‘something that takes you from one place to another.’
Each child made a book that tied this unit together. I took the words from a Richard Scarry poem, and put them into a pocket chart.
We read and reread the pocket chart often. I called on children to come up and point to each word. It was a great opportunity to reinforce all those concepts about print: pointing to each word, sight words, pausing at commas, etc.
We completed one page at a time. We also read books and did activities that tied in with all different kinds of transportation.
Sometimes we sponge painted vehicles on the cover, other times the children just drew vehicles, sometimes we used tracers. I got the sponges from those little capsules that dissolve in water and turn into sponges!
The children always loved to make any kind of project that moved, or they could play with. We attached the wheels with brad fasteners so they would really turn. Although I didn’t add details to this sample the children usually drew in a road and lots of features on the car.
We sang a take off on Old MacDonald had a Farm – Old MacDonald had a car – EIEIO, and on that car he had a horn, etc. Another good one is The Wheels on the Car Go Round and Round. Sometimes we brainstormed parts of a car – we either labeled a large simple car shape using interactive writing, or we made a list on chart paper.
We glued the plane onto a strip of tagboard about 1 inch x 6 inches, then cut a slit in the cloud and through the blue page. The strip slipped into the cut and the plane could ‘pop up.’ We also used brad fasteners to put a propeller on the front of the plane. My kids got very good at using brads – they put the paper on the carpeted floor to poke them through.
I had a couple different versions of the boat page. Sometimes I put a boat into an Ocean Book – and then I needed a different boat for this book.
We live in an area with many lakes, we always talked about wearing life jackets in boats!
Of course we had to read The Little Engine That Could when we talked about trains! The barrier could raise and lower.
We did some sorting and classifying – vehicles that go on land, sea and air.
There are so many wonderful books that fit into a study on transportation. In my public library they have a resource book called From A to Zoo. It lists great children’s books according to subjects – so you could look up cars or boats, and find a wealth of titles! This unit was also great for encouraging children to read environmental print – like traffic signs, logos, etc. I am going to dig through the files I kept and try to share more of the rich and fun activities my kids loved.
Here are the masters for the cover and words: