FIAR: Mike Mulligan

FIAR Mike Mulligan

Until we reviewed Maestro Classics a few months ago, I had never heard of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Since then, we have received a copy of the book as a gift and we bought the Maestro Classics version. When we got those two things, I had no idea we would be doing FIAR this year for J’s kindergarten year. Surprise! It has been so much fun!

Mike Mulligan book

Geography/Map Work

Of course, we follow a lot of the ideas in the Five In A Row Volume 1 book. We have a map on the wall and we added a circle to it in “imaginary land” for Mike Mulligan, since it does not take place in a real city or town. We also looked up the Eric Canal, the Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, and some other big things and found where they would be located on the map. We searched the internet to look up pictures of those things, as well.

steam powerSteam Experiment

We made a pinwheel. After discussing the mechanics of how it spins, we applied steam. We figured out that it had to be a very concentrated stream of steam (the pour spout that makes the kettle whistle had to be closed) and the pinwheel had to be smaller than our original versions. But, when we got it right, the steam made that pinwheel spin so fast it was a blur. The girls had a lot of (supervised) fun making the pinwheel spin in the steam. It really helped them understand how MaryAnn worked and ran in the book. It had been helpful a number of times since then in a discussion of the creation of energy.

train ride


Field Trip

We took a field trip to ride a train. It was a train that was originally powered by steam (we didn’t know it was a diesel until we got there and found out it had been converted). It still gave the girls a much larger working knowledge of the application of steam power and its uses. And the conductors were still pretty knowledgeable and were able to talk to the girls about how the train ran.




foundations straight and squareArchitecture/Geometry

The book talks about the corners being made neat and square. We talked about the importance of that for a foundation. Then we pulled out the blocks and let the girls play with what happens if your foundation is not neat and square. Does it fall down? Is it just a sturdy? Which type of foundation would be the sturdiest? What building that you can build will stand up to the biggest puffs of air your sisters can make? These are some of the questions they tried to answer with their buildings.



Art Work

The girls created various works of art that included Mike Mulligan and/or MaryAnn. E chose to draw a picture of MaryAnn and color it. J chose to create a pencil drawing of the hole that MaryAnn dug.

CD cover




We listened to the Maestro Classics recording and information about Mike Mulligan. They did some of the work that is included in the liner notes of the CD. This CD is a favorite and the girls sometimes listen to it in their rooms while they are playing.



Have you studies Mike Mulligan? I’d love to hear about some of the activities your students participated in. At Home.


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: