Our Paddle-to-the-Sea unit study (Chapters 6-7) continues. Clark and Luci are completely engrossed in this book, as we explore all of the details and subjects that each chapter introduces.
Chapter 6: Paddle Meets a Sawmill
In Chapter 6, Paddle, wedged onto the side of a log, is transported to a sawmill. Needless to say, Clark and Luci had no idea what a sawmill was. Neither are there any to visit in our area, so we did the next best thing and searched YouTube. We found several videos demonstrating older and newer sawmills. The children found the rivermen fascinating. They marveled that the men managed to stay on the logs without falling into the rushing river.
“I could do that!” Clark declared, so I thought we should try it out at the pool with some pool noodles. Not quite the same thing, but I wanted him to see and appreciate that these rivermen men had developed and mastered a very important skill. Their job must have been incredibly dangerous, even with such skill.
Chapter 7: Paddle Meets a Friend
As Paddle enters the sawmill, he almost gets sliced open before getting rescued by a French-Canadian sawmill worker, and is sent on his way again.
During this chapter, we continued to explore sawmills. We thought it would be interesting to explore what had to be done to build a house without a sawmill. Using their Dad’s saw, Clark and Luci took turns cutting some brush trimmings.
There was definitively a sense of accomplishment, but Clark declared that if he had to build a house without a sawmill, it would build it with little twigs. Clark and Luci both agreed that sawmills were definitively a great invention!
We then decided that we would take our newly cut sticks and see if they would float down a river, like in Paddle-to-the-Sea. We then painted our cut sticks with some non-toxic paint. Each child chose a different color so that we could keep track of who’s sticks belonged to who. Clark and Luci also colored a couple of peg dolls to act as Paddle.
We glued Paddle on to a couple of the sticks and took them out to a local stream to see if they’d float down the river like Paddle did.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The original plan was to throw the sticks over a bridge like we did when we were kids, and see which ones emerged first on the other side. However, we visited two bridges and found the water all dried up, so we gave up and found a little water fall at a park. Our first two attempts ended in Paddle getting stuck. Clark tried to help him out, but that didn’t work either. He just got stuck again.
We finally ended up hurling our sticks as far as we could into the pond. We watched as they floated around the edges, caught in the gentle current of the pond. We each cheered for our own sticks, hoping they wouldn’t get caught on the side, in little whirlpools or in debris.
We even got lucky with a visit from a couple of mallard ducks.