Lesson : Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

August 23, 2006 at 12:29 am 1 comment

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FIAR Book 1:Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

General theme : Water

Literature : Story Writing – Personification

Phonics : The Reading Lesson’s Lesson 1 – Covered the alphabets C, O, S, A and T

High Frequency Words : some, one, play

Vocabulary : furnace, cellar

Science : 3 States of Water

Math FIAR : Square and cube

Art : Draw shovel

Chinese : Number –  “八”, Family – “水”

Bible : Tower of Babel (From Danielle’s Place)

Outing : Beach

What I listed in this blog is beyond those covered in FIAR.  For copyright issue, I will be safe, and will not list out topics covered in the curriculum manuals.

Another note: we only have 3 schooling weeks per week, and I take 2 weeks to complete my lessons.

I love this book.  The moment I started reading, I was hooked.  Ethan, being very boy, loves it too.  The love for the book made schooling even more fun.

On schooling, I’m very please with how this 2 weeks went.  Thanks to my new daily routine, on most days, everyone is happy.  Zoe is happy that mummy gives her undivided attention every morning, Ethan is happy that school started and mummy does stuffs with him, I’m happy that I have a lot of time to do many things.

But of course, not everyday was perfect.  On one of the days, I was impatient when we were doing the High Frequency words.  I blame it on my PMS 😛 



Vocabulary (Day 1)



Story Writing – Personification (Day 3)

I’m pretty please with Ethan’s first attempt to ‘write’ a story (he narrated, while I wrote).  I bought a 3-lined exercise book, Ethan chose the paper for wrapping it, decorated, and I wrote his story inside it. 

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I’m also very please with Ethan’s enthusiasm to write the story.  I was initially concern that such activity may be ‘boring’, well, he showed me otherwise.

On the story, the focus was to personify a ‘thing’, just like how the author of “Mike” personify the steam shovel.

Here’s his first story (with some guide):

Ethan Sol And His Little Brown Bear

Ethan Sol has a little brown bear.  The bear is light brown and his name is Joseph.

Joseph can hug and kiss Ethan.  Ethan loves to sleep with Joseph.

Ethan loves Joseph very much, and Joseph loves him too.

States of Water

At 4yo, I didn’t want to focus so much on steam power.  I thought before Ethan can appreciate that, he should first appreciate the various states of water.

I’m also not keen to introduce big words like condensation, evaporation, etc.

So what I focused on was, ice, water, steam, solid, liquid and gas.

Steam – A little experiment (Day 1)

Preparation : Kettle, aluminium foil

Purpose : What is steam?

Placed a small piece of aluminium foil over the kettle spout, switched it on, and waited for the water to boil.  Once boiled, it wasn’t difficult to notice the steam.  I also showed Ethan the  water on the aluminium foil, and that the water was the steam that we saw.

Sensory – Ice to water (Day 1)

Preparation : Ice

Purpose : What is ice?

Gave Ethan ice for him to feel, touch and see.  While doing so, I encouraged him to talk about the ice, whether it is cold/warm/hot, slippery, its shapes, etc.  Had him notice what happen to the ice as he played with it.  Focus on the word “melt” –  The ice melted and become water.

Discovery – Water to steam (Day 1)

Preparation : Pot with cover, stove

Purpose : What happen to water when it is boiled?

We poured the water into a pot and heat it up over the stove.  Highlighted the steam, and that steam was from the water.  Covered the pot to ‘catch’ the vapourised steam, showed Ethan that the steam turned back into water.

When all the water were vaporised, I showed Ethan the empty pot and asked him what happened to the water.  Was glad that his reply was : “It becomes steam!”

Water is liquid, and liquid follows the shape of the container (Day 3)

Preparation : Water containers of different shapes and sizes, tray (for water spills), pitcher of water

Purpose : Water is liquid and it follow’s its container’s shape

Asked Ethan what is the shape of the water in the pitcher.  Poured water into a container, asked him what is the shape now.  Poured into another container, asked again.

Through this, he realised that water follows the shape of its container.

He was left alone to play and experiment with all other containers.

Ice is solid and has shape (Day 3)

Preparation : Ice made from various ice trays

Purpose : Ice is solid and it has a shape

On day 1, Ethan made ice using a few types of ice tray with different shapes.  Brought them out today to show him all the different shapes.  Asked him what are the shapes of the ice.  Asked him the different between ice and water.  (Ice has shape, while water follows the shape of the container)

How long does it takes for water to melt (Day 4)

Preparation : 3 Ice, Pot, Containers to hold the ice, fridge, stove

Purpose : How long does it take for the ice to melt?

Have Ethan placed ice on different environments: over stove, on the dining table and fridge.

We heated up the ice over the stove and timed how long did it take for the ice to melt over the stove, dining table and fridge, and charted the result.  Through this, it helped him to appreciate that ice in different environment melt at different rate.

States of Water Collage (Day 4)

Preparation : Pictures of ice, freezer, water, water in container, steam, heating element

Purpose : Reinforce what we learnt through the various hands-on activities that had been done.

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Have a paper with 3 columns.  Name the columns, Ice-Solid, Water-Liquid, Steam-Gas

Ethan cut out the various pictures and stick it to the respective columns

Math – Square and Cube

Square – Drawing and cutting (Day 2)

Preparation : Paper with square grid, ruler, scissors, glue, construction papers.

Purpose : Drawing square, cutting, ruler skill (fine motor skill)

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Though Ethan knows what is a square by sight, I’m not sure if he knows its properties.  He has also never tried drawing a squares before.  On top of the suggested activities in the FIAR manuals, I happened to have some 1mm grid paper which I let Ethan draw squares of different sizes. 

After the squares are drawn, he was excited to cut them and paste it on the construction paper.

This activity of drawing squares using grid paper helps him to ensure all the sides have the same number of 1mm squares.  But, he doesn’t know that it is 1 millimeter.  The point is for him to appreciate how squares should be measured and drawn.

Cube (Day 2)

We covered this briefly by showing him some cube boxes.

Art – Draw Shovel (Day 4)

I was really not quite sure what will Ethan draw.  Afterall, prior to drawing this house the only thing that he used to draw was faces and faces and faces.

But I was in for another surprise, I showed him a photograph of an old steam shovel and he was able to come out with quite a neat drawing of a steam shovel! Complete with coloring and a name for it.

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He calls it – ‘Donkey’, search me why he called it that!

Chinese – Water : 水(Day 1)

Pictorial is my usual style to help Ethan recognise Chinese characters.  This time, I draw water fall with droplets around.

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I also came up with my own rhyme which we recited with actions on nearly every homeschool days.  On daily basis, whenever Ethan needed to use water to do anything (drink, wash hands, shower, etc), I will say “我 用 水 ____。”, which I believe helped him better in conversing in Mandarin.

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Attempted a game, but it didn’t turn out well.  So I think no point blogging it!

On 八, I wished I planned more things.  When he was doing 1 of the worksheets, I realised he wasn’t quite sure about it.  Will work on this.

Outing – Beach (Day 5)  

What great place to try digging a cellar!  We also attempted digging a canal that can link the ‘cellar’ to the sea!  How ambitious!

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And not forgetting the yummy food at East Coast Beach’s food center!

Coming Up Next…

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Entry filed under: FIAR 1.

Our new daily schedule… I’M LOVING IT! When Ethan schools, Zoe…

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Daphne Yong  |  October 25, 2007 at 7:08 pm


    I am rather keen in buying the FIAR material but the web that I went in does not allow/offer international shipment. Care to share how or where you buy the material from ?



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