Are you planning a trip to the Strasburg Railroad with your homeschoolers? Make it an educational adventure!
Turning a trip to the Strasburg Railroad into an educational experience for homeschool families can be a fantastic way to blend hands-on learning with real-world exploration. Here are some ideas for incorporating books, activities, and lessons into your visit:
Homeschool at the Strasburg Railroad
- “Train” by Elisha Cooper: This beautifully illustrated picture book provides an overview of the different aspects of trains and their journeys.
- “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper: A classic story about perseverance and determination, perfect for younger children.
- “Locomotive” by Brian Floca: This award-winning book combines captivating illustrations with detailed information about the history of steam engines and the transcontinental railroad.
- “Train Man” by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha: A story that explores the life and work of a train engineer, offering insights into the world of rail transportation.
- “All Aboard! The Wonderful World of Disney Trains” by Dana Amendola and Michael Broggie: Featuring beautiful photos and behind-the-scenes details, this book highlights the various Disney trains and their history.
- “Big Books of Big Trains” by Megan Cullis: A book of giant fold-out pages that show the biggest, longest, and most powerful trains ever built.
- “Ultimate Spotlight: Trains” by Sophie Prenat: A lift-a-flap book that gives an exciting introduction to trains.
- “On The Train: Shine-a-Light Book” by Carron Brown: Explore hidden secrets of trains and how they operate with this interactive book.
History of Rail Transportation: Before the trip, teach children about the history of trains, including their invention, impact on industrialization, and development of the American railway system. Discuss how trains revolutionized transportation and trade.
Physics of Trains: Explore the physics principles behind trains, such as friction, force, and momentum. Discuss how different types of trains (steam, diesel, electric) operate and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Engineering and Design: Study the engineering and design principles involved in creating trains and railway systems. Discuss the different components of a train and how they work together to achieve movement.
Geography and Landscapes: Examine the geography and landscapes surrounding train routes. Discuss how geography influences the placement and construction of railway lines, and explore the diverse landscapes along the Strasburg Railroad route.
Social and Cultural Impact: Analyze the social and cultural impact of trains on communities, trade, and the economy. Discuss how trains influenced the growth of towns and cities along their routes and their role in connecting people and cultures.
If you’re looking for a pre-made unit study on trains with printables and other resources, check out THIS mini study from Raising Dinos on ETSY.
Train Track Building: Set up a train track model at home using toy train sets, or create a track layout using building blocks or other materials. Encourage children to design their own tracks and experiment with different configurations.
Steam Engine Experiment: Research how steam engines work and conduct a simple experiment at home using a kettle or a pot of boiling water. Explain the concept of steam power and its significance in the development of trains.
Train Art and Crafts: Engage children in train-themed art projects, such as creating train collages, painting train landscapes, or making paper train models. Encourage creativity and exploration of different art techniques.
Train Math: Use train-themed objects, such as toy trains or train-themed manipulatives, to teach basic math concepts like counting, addition, subtraction, and measurement. Incorporate train-related word problems for older students.
Train History Research Project: Assign older students a research project on the history of trains, focusing on topics such as the invention of the steam engine, the Industrial Revolution’s impact on train travel, or famous train routes and their historical significance.
during your visit
Guided Tour: Take advantage of any guided tours or educational programs offered by the Strasburg Railroad. These tours often provide historical and technical information, giving students a deeper understanding of the railroad’s significance.
Locomotive Workshop: If available, participate in a locomotive workshop where students can see steam engines up close, learn about their maintenance and operation, and interact with professionals in the field.
Q&A Session: Arrange a question-and-answer session with the staff or engineers at the Strasburg Railroad. Encourage students to prepare questions beforehand and engage in discussions about the history, mechanics, and operation of trains.
This mini unit study is a great for little learners and can be a foundation for creating your own comprehensive unit study.
Remember to tailor the activities and lessons to the age and interests of your homeschoolers. By combining the trip with educational resources, hands-on activities, and engaging lessons, you can create a memorable and enriching experience for your children.