This weekend we took a road trip to South Carolina for a wedding. The wedding was pretty much in the middle of No-Whereville. I did some googling and found an awesome website Roadside America. This website has mapped all the little weird, unique, and interesting things around America. There are markers for Civil War monuments or battle grounds, Muffler Men, and even a Tupak statue. Awesome! I am not sure it is 100% kid friendly, so check it out if your creative gears are going like mine were about how I could incorporate this into my classroom. (I was thinking Google Maps plus Roadside America attractions, and measuring distance.) But I didn't have time to think it through all the way, because I had to go to this wedding, so I filed it in my "ideas to go back to" log.
On the way to the wedding we stopped by The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum. WOW! It was fantastic, and I am not even a car-enthusiast. Vinny was in love. He took 430 pictures in the 45 minutes we were there. Every time I turned around I heard another, "Wow!" It was pretty neat. The microcars are tiny. How in the world did they fit in the cars!?
Of course I came up with a teaching idea there, because that's what I am good at :) My thinking was towards 5th grade and World War II. There is a section of cars that were built during WWII and after WWII. I had a few boys last year who LOVED cars. I mean everything was about cars. The idea is they make a dual timeline of WWII beginning a little before 1939 when Hitler began to gain power. They chart the major events on one side of the timeline. On the other side of the timeline they would research when German cars were being made and introduced. They should notice that few cars were being made towards the end of WWII when the Axis Powers began to fall. Then again after WWII was finished and the economy/people began to recover the cars start being produced again.
The timeline would bring in student interests but also allow students to examine the affects of war on an economy.