Our Primary II students are learning about the midwestern portion of the United States and have been discussing a variety of topics related to the middle of our nation. They have learned that the climate there has extreme temperature changes. Hot in summer and very cold in winter. One of their teachers is from the Midwest and she told them a science experiment to try in very cold weather is to take a hot cup of water outside, throw it in the air and it will turn to snow before it touches the ground.

Tornadoes are another Midwest phenomena that the children learned about. We spoke of how the warm and cool air come together and move in such a swift manner that it can lift things from the ground. One can see it spiraling, much like the water in our toilets, but with air. They heard that just like we prepare for being safe by practicing earthquake drills, in the Midwest all children do the very same thing to prepare for a tornado.  They crouch down and cover their heads. Instead of getting under a table as we know to do for an earthquake, they find a place away from windows to stay until the storm passes.

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source: tornado-facts.com

In addition to tornado drills, we also learned about the Mississippi River, the longest river in North America.  It starts in Minnesota and flows all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The river barges move along the Mississippi River, very gingerly in certain places. The children learned that the first boats to travel the Mississippi had steam engines, just like the early locomotive.

Our studies about the U.S., were added to by the book, Locomotive, Brian Floca. The book is about a lively adventure by steam trains traveling across the U.S. more than 100 years ago. We imagined how to operate the train and how a passenger would feel riding the locomotive in that era. The children were especially delighted by the sound effects in the book, such as the “CHUG CHUG CHUG” of the engine and the conductor announcing “All aboard!”

Locomotive

Our children are all aboard with their learning and continuing to grow. In fact, earlier this week, one of our students paused while eating his lunch and said to his teacher, "We are getting soooo big."

Learn more about our Montessori program for students ages 2 years old through middle school. Register for one of our tours.