Last week the children had the opportunity to go to a homeschool day that was a combo day between the Booth Western Art Museum and the Bartow History Museum, both museums that are close to us. The theme of the day was “Plains,” Trains and Automobiles.
They had programming that involved learning more about the transcontinental railroad, the first flight and Henry Ford. However, the main centerpiece of student activity was a STEAM activity that was related to transport in the Great Plains and Wild West. Students received the opportunity to create their own model stagecoaches and to adapt them based on design challenges.
The instructors began by having them to look at a small scale model of a stagecoach and some photographs of stagecoaches and to begin to construct their own. They were to look at the pictures and then use them to construct their own working model. This was a team project, and Rose and Firecracker would learn a great deal of collaboration throughout the process.
The next stage had them going for their first design challenge in a room dominated by it’s own stagecoach.
In this room, the docent pointed out a painting that had both Indians and a stagecoach in it, and had posed this design challenge to the kids: What could you do to help protect your stagecoach from attack?
Firecracker and Rose decided to place a swordsman on top of the coach to fight of any attackers. Monkey also made a huge giant to walk alongside the stagecoach and defend against attackers.
I didn’t get any pictures of just the second challenge. However, the challenge in the second room was to design something to help your wheels of your stagecoach from breaking down. The children decided to just put an extra wheel or two onto the storage area of their stagecoach.
The third challenge we did was a weather challenge. How would you defend your stage coach from cyclones, tornadoes, and really bad storms? My children chose to put a shaman on top of the stagecoach to cast a forcefield spell. The forcefield spell is put out by the white disk that is now on top of the stagecoach.
The final challenge began as the docent directed the students to look at this sculpture. Then, they discussed how often when an animal scared a horse, cow or ox, that animal will rear or get hurt.
So, the fourth design challenge was one where the students had to adapt their stagecoach to combat snakes and other animals that might scare, injure or kill the oxen. My children decided to add king snakes, mongooses and a dog to the stagecoach to adapt it to their need for protecting against poisonous snakes.
And that is our completed stagecoach. . .with all its adaptations. It took us about an hour and a half to go through the stations and to design our own stagecoach, but it was time well spent. If anything, this homeschool day had too many things to do because we didn’t get to all the activities that we wanted to do at either museum!