Magazine article Technology and Children

Stuck in a Hole

Magazine article Technology and Children

Stuck in a Hole

Article excerpt

Stuck in a Hole Book Burton, V. L. (1939). Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. [44 pages]

Summary of Book

Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, Mary Anne, have accomplished many great feats in their day. But new technology might make Mike and Mary Anne obsolete. Not wanting to part with his steam shovel, Mike sets out to find new jobs for them. One day they come upon a job to dig a basement for a new town hall in a small community called Popperville. Mike claims that his steam shovel can dig as much in a day as a hundred men could in a week. Mike offers to do the job for free if they cannot do the job in a day. The mayor accepts this offer, thinking that it can't be done. Mike proves he can do the job, thanks to help from a little boy who draws lots of spectators to the scene. The cellar is complete at the end of the day. But Mike and Mary Anne are trapped in the hole. The mayor said the job was not finished because they were stuck. The little boy poses a plan that makes everyone happy. Mary Anne is turned into the furnace for the new building, and Mike accepts a job as the building janitor. They both welcome visitors in the basement of the new town hall.

Student Introduction

Have you ever wondered what happened to all of the old machines that we used in the past? Steam shovels like Mary Anne have been replaced by newer ones powered by diesel fuel and electric power. There are lots of tools and machines that have been replaced by newer, better, or faster ones. For example, modern electric washing machines replaced washboards for cleaning clothes. Can you think of others?

Have you ever been in a situation wherer you did not have a solution to a problem? Perhaps you needed someone's help to figure it out. Creative people help find ways to solve problems. Are you a creative problem-solver? Let's find out!

Design Brief: Stuck in a Hole

Suggested Grade Level: 2-3

Think about the different jobs Mike and Mary Anne had in the past. What might have been some of their challenges? What would have happened to Mike and Anne if they got trapped in one of the other holes they dug? Write a new story about Mike and Mary Anne. Describe another challenging job they might have had. Tell what happens when they get stuck in the hole they dig. How might Mary Anne be changed into something else that is useful? Draw pictures of your ideas. Build a model of one of your best ideas to share with the class. …

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