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In the 1800’s the canal system changed the way freight was moved in our country. Learn more about how mules played an integral role in the canals and were later replaced by machines.
A mule is an animal that is part horse and part donkey. Mules are bigger and stronger than a donkey and hardier than a horse. They are ideal animals to pull heavy loads. Have students look at pictures of horses, donkeys and mules. How do their appearances differ?
Mules were used to tow or pull boats through the canals. The mules were attached to the boats by ropes. They would walk on a tow path and pull the boats through the canal at about 4 miles per hour. The boats could only travel as fast as the mules could walk. Share pictures of mules from the canal era and discuss their role with students.
As the canal system was modernized, mules were replaced by machines. Ask students what types of machines replaced these animals? If the machines are an improvement to the canals? What are some of the benefits of using machines?
Students commemorate the role that mules played in the canals by creating a sculpture of a mule out of Model Magic®. Make two egg-shaped pieces of modeling compound, a smaller one for the head and a larger one for the body. Roll 5 logs of Model Magic to create a neck and four legs. Model Magic that is fresh from the pack will stick to itself. Dried pieces can be glued together. Attach the legs to the body. Use additional pieces of modeling compound add details and features to bring the mule to life!
This powerful diorama pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrate his historic civil rights speech on the step
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