South Carolina: Ron’s Big Mission

This book straggled into the library a month after we’d finished South Carolina, but I had remembered checking it out earlier and REALLY wanting to read it to them.


Ron wants to fly planes and design planes when he grows up.  Every time he goes to the library he spends hours looking at the books about planes.  One day he decides that he wants to check out HIS OWN books, but that’s not allowed.


You see Ron lives in South Carolina in the 1950s and then blacks weren’t allowed to check out library books, he had to get someone else to check them out.


This is the true story of how he stood up for himself one day at 9 years old.  Ron grew up to be an astronaut at NASA and was on the Challenger space flight.



I challenged my kids to design a plane like Ron wanted to do.  They took about 10 papers from the recycle bin, pipe cleaners, fun foam, yarn, and some fake flower petals.  Oh and large amounts of tape.  This is what they came up with.  They tried to fly it off the upstairs loft and it just flew straight down.


But the part that was really cool to me is they remembered the story, and a few weeks later at the library they were talking about how Ron wasn’t allowed to check out library books and they were glad they were allowed to check them out.  The bad part is they didn’t understand that now he was allowed to check them out.  So we had a quick discussion about that.


It always impresses me what they’ve learned and how it’s been absorbed.

Science Sunday: Ocean floor digging

Science Sunday
Sooooo…….  I went to the library to find books on South Carolina and came up with 6.  Three about the same thing.  One which is checked out presumed missing (but was an awesome book), and another which doesn’t really lead itself to any sort of activity.

Which leads me to begging, if you have any suggestions for South Carolina, something that stands out to you please let me know.  PLEASE.

Okay, on to our project.  We read about the HL Hunley.  It’s the first ever submarine, and it sank and for years it was a mystery where did it sink, why did it sink, what happened?  And then come the turn of the century (isn’t it funny to say that and not mean 1900s?) they found it!

But how to lift it?  How can we explore its mysteries?

This book details all about the search for the Hunley and how we finally got it to the surface.  We got details of how they first searched for it right after it went missing.  Then details of the attempts through the ages, until finally it was found.

So, I gave each group of kids a bowl filled up with mud and water, and buried in it were the two cars pictured above.  I also buried miscellaneous things, rocks, bolts, other stuff.

Instructions: Using the materials pictured on the right, find the “Hunley” and discover how to get it out of the bowl without touching the car or the water.

Then the race was on.  The girls started by poking around in the water with the bamboo rods, until they found the car.  Then they used two forks to raise the “Hunley.”

The boys probably had too many cooks in the pot.  They all happily got to poking around and did find the car very quickly, but they took about a minute longer.

General consensus: The magnets were not very helpful (probably because the cars were not magnetic).  The bamboo skewers worked very well for finding it, but not for lifting it up.  The big forks worked very well for lifting it, but the spoons did not.

This was a huge hit with the boys who hid their “Hunley” several more times before finally being done with it.  After the other kids left my boys then spent several more minutes (read half an hour) finding everything in it they could.