My son is finishing his 2nd grade year, and it has been an amazing one for him. He has always loved science and been an inventor extraordinaire at home; however, this year his rock-star teacher has ignited a love of history in him. He has come home talking about Ancient China, Ancient Egypt, and more recently, Helen Keller. He is amazed by her story and cannot believe how much she accomplished (my word, not his. I am taking some liberties with paraphrasing.) in her life. He was particularly enthusiastic about an activity he did in class wherein he created a word in braille. This got me thinking about the summertime, when I have the great fortune to be home with the kids and activities we could do together. So, this activity is one that is not my idea, but one I became aware of when I taught eighth graders which I have adapted to meet the needs of my younger children.
Enter the remarkable story of William Kamkwamba, a then 14-year-old boy who was inspired to build a windmill in his Malawian village after seeing the devastation caused by excessive drought in his area. I think my son will love this story. William reminds me of Helen Keller in the diversity he has overcome to be the success he is today. So, the cool thing about this story is there are three different versions of this story to choose from based on the age level of the reader. There is the full version, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, there is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition, which is recommended for grades 4-7, and lastly, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition for younger elementary students.
My plan for my kiddos this summer is to do an interactive activity with them centered around William. I think my son especially will love it, but I think as long as there is an art component my daughter will buy in. I am on a quest to find enriching activities for them this summer that do not cost a fortune. I will leave you with this for now, but I will be back with a second post to let you know what I did and how I did it with some pictures to illustrate.
Disclaimer: This is not an original idea. I happened upon this story and ancillary materials during a teaching conference; however, the activity I did at the conference was not very exciting, so I am going to try something new. More to come on this in the future!