The Little Engine That Could
is one of the greatest tales of motivation and the power of positive thinking ever told. In this well-loved classic, a little train carrying toys to all of the good boys and girls is confronted with a towering, seemingly impassable mountain. This hard work does not go unrewarded, for the Little Engine does achieve its goal. My unit reaches out to students in this same positive way, first empowering them with knowledge of their bodies and biological systems and then positioning them as engineers who direct the movements their bodies make. Just as the Little Blue Engine's mantra "I think I can--I think I can" keeps him going, my second graders will "know they can!"
The human body are organs intricately connected and functioning in unison and harmony. The organs are made of even smaller units we call "cells". The cell is made from even smaller units called molecules and the molecules are made from the tiniest of all substances we call atoms and the breakdown into even smaller and smaller features continues from there and it does not cease till we are no longer able to observe those individual units. Thus, in a way, the smallest of all engines that we can observe, "the atom," manages to do some amazing things by working cooperatively and in unison with other atoms to build larger structures. So these little engines can and do by following the principles of cooperative behavior and it is a critical element that I would like to demonstrate in this unit through objective lessons and activities.