The Trolley Activities

The trolley

written by Patricia Grace

illustrated by K. Gemmil

published by Viking, 1993

On Christmas Eve, a mother looks in her wallet and realises that she has no money to buy Christmas presents for her two children, Miria and Hoani. She comes up with a plan to build a trolley out of old bits and pieces she finds lying around her house. She worries that they won’t like it, however she need not worry as the kids are delighted when they wake up on Christmas morning. In fact the whole neighbourhood seems impressed when they tell Miria and Hoani that they’ve got a “neat trolley” and a “neat mum”. A heartwarming story, which sends the message that it’s ‘the thought that counts’. New Zealand themes can be seen throughout – pohutukawa trees, washing lines, fantails, flax kete and jandals can be seen in the colourful watercolour illustrations.

Activity 1: Debating the phrase “It’s the thought that counts” (English)
NZ Curriculum Level 2 & 3

(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies
  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
  • participating and contributing
Activity In this story, Tania could not afford to buy Christmas presents for her children. After a lot of careful thought, she stayed up all night to make them a trolley, using things she could find that didn’t cost anything. This is a great issue to raise with children about materialism – do we need to spend a lot of money on expensive presents, or is it the thought that is more important? Tania certainly put a great deal of thought into her gift, and even though she was worried it wouldn’t be good enough, Miria and Hoani loved it, and it was all the more special because their mum had made it!

1. After reading, introduce the idea: It’s the thought that counts.

Discuss what this means and ask students to consider which side they ‘stand on’. Establish two sides of the classroom for each opinion and ask students to move to one side or the other depending on their opinion:

  • It’s the thought that counts – YES or NO

Some children may still be ‘sitting on the fence’ at this stage – this is OK.

2. Ask students to justify why they have chosen their particular side. Share some reasons as a class and formulate an informal debate. During this time, students ‘sitting on the fence’ may be convinced toward on side or another.

3. Tell students that they are now going to prepare for a more formal debate. Explain that they will be organised into teams of 3, and that each speaker will have a particular role:

1st speaker (affirmative): define the topic; present the affirmative’s team line; outline briefly what each speaker in their team will talk about; present the first half of the affirmative case.

1st speaker (negative): accept or reject the definition. If you don’t do this it is assumed that you accept the definition; present the negative team line; outline briefly what each of the negative speakers will say; rebut a few of the main points of the first affirmative speaker; the 1st negative should spend about one quarter of their time rebutting; present the first half of the negative team’s case.

2nd speaker (affirmative): reaffirm the affirmative’s team line; rebut the main points presented by the 1st negative; the 2nd affirmative should spend about one third of their time rebutting; present the second half of the affirmative’s case.

2nd speaker (negative): reaffirm the negative’s team line; rebut some of the main points of the affirmative’s case; the 2nd negative should spend about one third of their time rebutting; present the second half of the negative’s case.

3rd speaker (affirmative): reaffirm the affirmative’s team line; rebut all the remaining points of the negative’s case; the 3rd affirmative should spend about two thirds to three quarters of their time rebutting; present a summary of the affirmative’s case; round off the debate for the affirmative.

3rd speaker (negative): reaffirm the negative’s team line; rebut all the remaining points of the affirmative’s case; the 3rd negative should spend about two thirds to three quarters of their time rebutting; present a summary of the negative’s case; round off the debate for the negative. Neither third speaker may introduce any new parts of their team’s cases.

4. Organise groups according to children’s choice of opinion and send them away to work on their arguments and speeches together. Encourage the students to use persuasive language – as they are writing/ speaking in order to persuade. You may need to do some micro-teaching on this if students are not familiar with using persuasive language.

5. When speeches are organised, all children should have a go at taking part in a debate. There will need to be a chairperson – this could either be the teacher or another student.

Resources
  • Basic Debating Skills

http://www.actdu.org.au/archives/actein_site/basicskills.html#roles

Taking it further
  • Present debate speeches to another class (English)
  • Use the same debate format to discuss other topical issues (English)
Curriculum Links English

Listening, Reading and Viewing

  • show some understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts (Level 2)
  • show some understanding of how language features are used for effect within and across texts (Level 2)
  • show some understanding of how texts are shaped for different purposes and audiences (Level 2)
  • show a developing understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts (Level 3)
  • show a developing understanding of how language features are used for effect within and across texts (Level 3)
  • show a developing understanding of how texts are shape for different purposes and audiences (Level 3)

Speaking, Writing and Presenting

  • select, form and express ideas on a range of topics (Level 2)
  • use language features appropriately, showing some understanding of their effects (Level 2)
  • show some understanding of how to shape texts for different purposes and audiences (Level 2)
  • show a developing understanding of how to shape texts for different purposes and audiences (Level 3)
  • select, form and communicate ideas on a range of topics (Level 3)
  • use language features appropriately, showing a developing understanding of their effects (Level 3)
Applications for Level 1 At Level 1, students could explore the idea of ‘It’s the thought that counts’, without having to enter into a formal debate. It could be done simply as a class discussion, or children could be asked to choose ‘sides’ and give reasons why – as in the lesson plan. Children could follow up by thinking of a present they have received which was special but hadn’t cost a lot of money, and writing about it.

Activity 2: DESIGN A TROLLEY (Technology)
NZ Curriculum Level 1, 2 & 3

(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies
  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
Activity In the story Tania builds a trolley using old bits and pieces – old pram wheels, bits of wood, a skipping rope and an old wooden box.

1. Tell the children that they are going to design their own trolley. Talk about trolley design:

  • What makes a good trolley?
  • What do we want the trolley to be able to do?
  • What materials could be used for the body/ the wheels/ the steering?

2. In groups, children design a trolley.

  • At Level 1, this will be a drawing. Children should be able to talk about their design and talk about the materials they would use.
  • At Level 2, this will be a more complex drawing with arrows showing what each part is, what it is for and what materials would be used.
  • At Level 3, children should be able to create a complex diagram which shows detailed drawing, arrows which show and describe what each part is for, as well as listing the materials used, and reasons for why they would use these materials in particular.

3. Share designs and provide feedback and feedforward. Some groups may decide to make adjustments to their designs, based on other’s suggestions.

Taking it further
  • Make the trolleys! (Technology)
  • Try re-using old things to design or make something new – just as Tania did in the story. Use this recycling aspect of the story as a teaching point (Social Science)
Curriculum Links Technology

Brief Development

  • describe the outcome the are developing and identify the attributes it should have, taking account of the need or opportunity and the resources available (Level 1)
  • explain the outcome they are developing and describe the attributes it should have, taking account of the need or opportunity and the resources available (Level 2)
  • describe the nature of an intended outcome, explaining how it addresses the need or opportunity. Describe the key attributes that enable development and evaluation of an outcome (Level 3)

Outcome developments and evaluation

  • investigate a context to communicate potential outcomes. Evaluate these against attributes; select and develop an outcome in keeping with the identified attributes (Level 1)
  • investigate a context to develop ideas for potential outcomes. Evaluate these against the identified attributes; select and develop an outcome. Evaluate the outcome in terms of the need or opportunity (Level 2)
  • investigate a context to develop ideas for potential outcomes. Trial and evaluate these against key attributes to select and develop an outcome to address the need or opportunity. Evaluate this outcome against the key attributes and how it addresses the need or opportunity (Level 3)

Technological products

  • understand that technological products are made from materials that have performance properties (Level 1)
  • understand that there is a relationship between a material used and its performance properties in a technological product (Level 2)
  • understand that relationship between the materials used and their performance properties in technological products (Level 3)
Applications for Level 4 and above At Levels 4 and above, students may create a prototype trolley to test out. They may test out a variety of different materials to find those most suitable for the purpose.

Activity 3: CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD (English/ Social Science)
NZ Curriculum Level 1, 2 & 3

(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies
  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
  • participating and contributing
Activity This story gives a good example of how one family celebrates Christmas.

1. Ask the children what they do to celebrate Christmas:

  • What do you do on Christmas day?
  • Who do you spend Christmas with?
  • Do you share a meal together? What kind of food is there?
  • Does Santa come?
  • Do you go to church?
  • Do you stay home, or go somewhere else?

Talk together about Christmas celebrations. Establish that everyone does something different, there is no ‘right’ way to celebrate Christmas.

2. Introduce the concept of Christmas around the world.

Look at a world map and discuss what Christmas might be like in other parts of the world. For example, in the United Kingdom they celebrate Christmas in the middle of Winter – so what things would they do to celebrate? And what about in the Middle East – would they celebrate Christmas at all? Does every country celebrate Christmas?

  • At Level 1, children could draw and write about what they do to celebrate Christmas.
  • At Levels 2 and 3, students could go on to research further about how Christmas is celebrated around the world. Working with a partner, choose a country on the world map to research:

i.         Look online or in the library to find information. Students may be able to use their own prior knowledge also, using what they know about their own cultural heritage.

ii.         Summarise findings and decide what is important.

iii.         Create a report to present to the class about what they have found out about their country’s Christmas celebrations. Children may like to use a KidPix slideshow, or create a powerpoint to use in their report.

iv.         Present reports. Encourage students to consider: how is it different from/ similar to the way I celebrate Christmas?

Materials
  • Christmas items
  • World map
  • Internet access
  • Information books
  • Computer access (Level 2/3)
Resources The following websites might be useful in finding out information about Christmas celebrations:

  • Christmas around the world.

http://www.the-north-pole.com/around/

  • Santa’s Net: Christmas traditions around the world.

http://www.santas.net/aroundtheworld.htm

  • Christmas celebrations around the world.

http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/worldxmas/

Taking it further
  • Create a poster about how their chosen country celebrates Christmas (English)
  • Create a venn diagram which shows what is the same and what is different about Christmas in New Zealand and Christmas in another country (Maths/ Social Science)
Curriculum Links Social Science

  • understand how belonging to groups is important to people (Level 1)
  • understand how cultural practices reflect and express people’s customs, traditions and values (Level 2)
  • understand how cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes (Level 3)

English

  • form and express ideas on a range of topics (Level 1)
  • show some understanding of how to shape texts for different purposes and audiences (Level 2)
  • select, form and express ideas on a range of topics (Level 2)
  • show some understanding of ideas within, across, and beyond texts (Level 2)
  • show a developing understanding of how to shape texts for different purposes and audiences (Level 3)
  • select, form and communicate ideas on a range of topics (Level 3)
  • show a developing understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts (Level 3)