Keep The Lights Burning Mr. Fresnel
Grade Level: Elementary
The purpose of this unit is to teach students about lighthouses
in general and how lighthouses in Rhode Island are directly related to
the geography of our state. Since our state borders the Atlantic Ocean,
students will learn the importance of lighthouses to the people of Rhode
Island and where the lighthouses are located. This unit will be designed
to provide students with information and activities that will answer the
question: What is unique about the coast of Rhode Island that made it necessary
to build so many lighthouses? In addition, why are so few lighthouses needed
No. 1 Knows and understands how to use maps, globes, and
other graphical tools to acquire, process, and report information.
No. 4 Knows and understands the physical and human characteristics
No. 11 Knows and understands the patterns and networks
of economic interdependence on Earth’s surface.
No 15 Knows and understands how the earth’s physical environment
affect human activities.
Students will demonstrate their ability:
To construct a map of RI, identifying important features
within the state.
To identify a location for a new lighthouse, with supporting
To understand absolute and relative location and use them
to answer questions about a map.
To learn to use the Internet and successfully manipulate
their way around web sites, and be able to use the web sites to learn information
that is useful in this unit.
To determine the physical and human characteristics of lighthouses
in general and in Rhode Island.
To learn about the communication and transportation systems
that link people and lighthouses.
To explore the ways in which people adapted to, modified
and depended upon our coastal environment and lighthouses.
The World in Spatial Terms
Questions: What is the absolute location of each lighthouse?
Where are the lighthouses located in relationship to other places? To other
lighthouses? How far apart are they placed? How far from the water must
they be? Are they found in all bodies of water? Where is RI located in
relationship to the rest of the United States? In relationship to New England?
Places and Regions
Activities: The students will use a globe and maps
to locate where they live. As a class, they will create a large wall size
map of RI, focusing on Narragansett Bay. We will locate places on the map
such as cities, towns, bodies of water, bridges and lighthouses. Students
will use resources such as books and maps to identify and justify a new
location for a lighthouse in the United States.
Questions: Can they describe the people living near
or around lighthouses? What is the climate of this region? What features
(sidewalks, fences, trees, docks, etc.) define the perimeter of the place?
Are bodies of water present? What structures (human or man-made) are located
at the place? What are some of the common features found along the coast
of RI? What physical and human characteristics define this place?
Activities: Students will read Lighthouses of
Rhode Island by Wally Welch. This book is a color photo guide to
all the lighthouses in Rhode Island. They will create brochures focusing
on a specific RI lighthouse. They will gather their information from the
Internet, using the following websites.
Questions: Describe how people use lighthouses as
communication tools. What types of transportation benefit from lighthouses?
Are there weather patterns that significantly influence the effectiveness
of a lighthouse and those that rely upon them? What are some occupations
of people who live in/near lighthouses? How do people travel to lighthouses?
What impact do tourists have on our waterways? What would be the effect
if lighthouses were non-existent? What is the purpose of a lighthouse?
What are the different ways to identify your location when out at sea?
How are lighthouses tended to today? What are the identifying signals of
a lighthouse beacon? How has the light sources changed over the years?
Environment and Society
Activities: Students will read Beacons of Light by Gail Gibbons.
This book will introduce lighthouses and how they work in simple text and
pictures. Using tangram shapes, students will design a lighthouse. On each
shape, students will answer specific questions that can be found in the
book. They will use the tangram project as a study guide.
Questions: How has technology changed the role of the lighthouse keeper?
What are the responsibilities of the lighthouse keeper? How much time does
his duties require? (Each day/night, from season to season, from 1716 to
present time?) At what periods in time did significant changes occur in
the way lighthouses operated? As members of a lighthouse keeper’s family,
how were their lives affected?
Students will use events in the stories to create a timeline. They
will compare lighthouses and their keepers of the 1800’s to lighthouses
and the keepers of today. Students will write three diary entries from
3 different points of view. From a lighthouse keeper as he leaves the responsibility
of tending to the light to his 11 year old child. From the point of view
of an 11 year old who has to tend the light. From the point of view of
a lighthouse keeper focusing on his duties during the 1800’s.
Activities: Students will read The Light at Tern Rock, Searching
the Light, Keep the Lights Burning Abbie, The Lighthouse
Keeper’s Daughter and Women of the Light.
In the winter of 1856, a storm delays the lighthouse keeper's return to
an island off the coast of Maine, and his daughter Abbie must keep the
lights burning by herself.
Keep the Light Burning Abbie by Peter & Connie Roop
Ronnie and his aunt are tending the Tern Rock lighthouse while the keeper
takes a vacation. Ronnie loves living in the lighthouse, and looks forward
to telling his family about it at Christmas. But the days go by, and the
lighthouse keeper doesn't return to take them home.
The Light at Tern Rock by Julia L. Sauer
When her father's return to a Maine lighthouse is delayed by a severe storm,
Miranda must keep the light going despite brutal weather and her own illness.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Arielle North Olson
This book discusses the history of women as American lighthouse keepers,
it begins in Revolutionary War days and continues into the twentieth century
. . .. Four chapters highlight: . . . Ida Lewis of Newport, Rhode Island;
Kate Walker of New York Harbor; Harriet Colfax of Michigan City, Indiana;
and Emily Fish of California's Monterey Peninsula. The last chapter introduces
a number of other women who gained renown as lighthouse keepers.
Women of the Lights by Candace Fleming
With the help of his grandfather, Jim researches his favorite lighthouse
for a school project and in the process learns about the father he lost
to the Gulf War. Includes brief histories of the lighthouses of South Carolina.
Searching the Light by Margie Willis Clary
Students will work in groups to construct a model of an authentic Rhode
Island lighthouse made entirely from recycled materials. The Lighthouse
will be made to scale and will have an operating light.
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