Unlocking Canal Locks
Why do canals incorporate locks? Find the "key" to lock engineering with this art-infused lesson plan.
1. Canals allowed boats to transport goods through man-made connective waterways. The canal system allowed freight to be moved more quickly and efficiently than in the past. Why was the canal system more effective than previous modes of transportation?
2. In order to move boats from one elevation to another canals incorporated watertight chambers called locks. A series of locks connected two waterways. When the ship enters a lock, it is filled or drained of water to change the boats elevation and move it to the next level. Research the engineering of locks and discuss your findings.
3. Originally people called locktenders operated the lock system. They worked long, hard days to keep the locks running. Today locks are generally mechanized. Locks were originally constructed of timber and stone. Today locks are made of steel and concrete. Compare and contrast the changes in lock construction and operation. How have these changes impacted the canal system?
4. Using your research as a guide, work as a group to construct a representation of lock system out of Model Magic® and recycled materials. Model Magic that is fresh from the pack will stick to itself. Dried pieces can be glued together. Incorporate recycled materials like cardboard or craft sticks to build the chambers. Create boats from modeling compound to bring the model to life. Add additional recycled materials to replicate water and other canal features.
Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.
Adult Assistance is required for this arts & crafts project.
Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—
- Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
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Model Magic Fusion Glow in the Dark—Activate Glow in the Dark Model Magic Fusion compound by holding it near a light source like sunlight, a flashlight, or an ordinary (not a halogen) lamp. Halogen bulbs burn much hotter than regular bulbs.
Modeling Tools—Use the least dangerous point or edge sufficient to do the job. For example, craft sticks, plastic knives and forks, and cookie cutters can cut or carve modeling materials.
Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points
- The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas. This canal does not incorporate locks. Why? Research the answer to this question and logistical importance of this canal.
- Locks have been used for over a thousand years. Where did locks originate? Find out more about their beginnings and history.
- Visit the National Canal Museum in Easton, PA. Distance an issue? Check it out online at www.canals.org.