In addition to the family togetherness and a delicious turkey meal, many look forward each November to the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Originating in 1924 (as a Christmas parade!), the festive event is beloved by many across the country, as they line the streets of New York City or remained glued to the TV screen to watch the entertaining performances, the elaborate floats, and awe-inspiring balloons go by.
Two of our rock-star educators, Carrie Willis (@carriewillis18) and Caitlin Arakawa (@caitlin_arakawa) from Valley Preparatory School in Redlands, CA, recently shared that they have their students (as young as kindergartners) design floats and balloons for Dash to parade through their mock New York City. As they began to fill us in on the details, we marveled at how this STEAM-powered project hit so many valuable learning objects, from design thinking, to coding and robotics, to persuasive and creative writing … so many cross-curricular connections!
So we worked with these two fine educators to create a student-facing lesson for you to use or modify in Nearpod (click to view).
The lesson guides students as they:
- review the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- read/listen to a related picture book, Balloons Over Broadway
- write a persuasive argument about their float/balloon idea
- design a float/balloon
- measure and map out a parade route
- construct their design
- program robots to navigate the parade, start to finish
- write about their Thanksgiving Day Parade experience
Caitlin even went above and beyond this “mere” lesson. She had her kindergarteners use SeeSaw to record audio clips explaining their sketches (layered over an actual parade photo), which she then shared with the families. They can vote on their favorite idea via a Google Form.
And just for some home-school connection, Caitlin created a GooseChase Game for her kindergartners as they watch the 92nd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at home (share the game with your own students!). We’re ready to be 5 years old again at Valley Preparatory School.
Let the parades commence (even AFTER the holiday!), and do share your videos with us on Twitter @WonderWorkshop #FunWithWonder. Find other Thanskgiving-related ideas in our blog article, A Cornucopia of Thanksgiving Ideas for Robots in the Classroom. And join in our upcoming Hour of Code fun, too.