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Transportation #4: If I Built a Car, by Chris Van Dusen

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Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students will think creatively about designing their own car.  Cars have changed a lot over time, and this lesson gives children a chance to imagine a fantasy car or a car from the future.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Ages:  Grades K-2


Students will use their imaginations to design a fantasy car.

Suggested Time:

30-45 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will complete an original drawing of a car with unique, imaginative features.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

We’ve been looking at forms of transportation in this unit, but once each of our modern forms of transportation only existed in the dreams of their creators.  The planes of the past had no meal service or entertainment packages.  Cars of the past did not have GPS or back-up assist cameras.  Trains of the past were loud and dirty!  We only have new and modern forms of transportation because people used their imaginations and creativity to imagine something better!

2. Main:

Share If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen.

Ask the children what they would do if they could design the car of their dreams.  What would be inside?  A sweet shop?  A super slide?  A trampoline?

Show the student handout and tell the children that they will have 15 minutes to design their own, imaginative car, just like the boy in the story.  What will they design?

3. Conclusion:

Bring the class back together and have a few students share what they have created.  If there is space, make a display in the library.   If not, prepare the pieces for display elsewhere in school.

additional Resources:
  1. If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen.
  2. Student Handout (see attached)
  3. Colored pencils or crayons

Students should notice that the book rhymes!  They will enjoy this because well-crafted rhyming books are always kid-pleasers.

Be sure that kids do their own thinking and do not copy one another.  Encourage the children to do something different from their neighbor.  I’ve seen too many nearly-identical cars.  So, if several children insist that they want the same feature, be sure that they distinguish their work with different colors, different flavors, different features, etc.

Key Terms:

Cars, Car Design, Transportation, Future, Stories in Rhyme, Imagination, Creativity

Amazon Link:

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

Student handout:

Student Handout, If I Built a Car

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