Discussion and questions before readingLook at the cover of the book. What do you think the story is about?Notice the green swirl on the cover. Watch and listen for it in the book. Read the book.
Questions after reading the book:What is the main ingredient in cheese? The cheese weighed 1,400 pounds. The book compares it to an animal that Thomas Meacham had on his farm. What animal was it? (cow)What carried the cheese to Washington, D.C.? (schooner or boat)Where did they put the cheese when it got to the White House? (entrance hall)How long did the cheese stay in the White House? (for over a year)
Math: Who remembers how many cows Thomas Meacham had on his farm? (150)Which number is greater 100 or 150?On the first two pages of the story, how many wooly sheep do you see? (12)On the second page of the story, count the number of cows that are on the lower part of the fence. (21)Which is bigger? Thomas Meacham’s cheese or cheese you buy from a grocery store?
Science: Using the book, discuss the steps it takes to make cheese. How many?Share the fun Cheesy Facts in the back matter of the book.
Social Studies:Who lives in the White House? (the president)Who is the president of the United States today? Art: Draw a picture of a big cheese. Decorate it with stars, stripes, flags, bunting, and sparkles. Challenge: There are two small mice in the illustrations in the book. Can you find them? Grades 2-3 PEW! The Stinky and Legen-Dairy Gift from Colonel Thomas S. Meacham
Reading:Introduce the title, author, illustrator, and the title page.Does anyone know what a nonfiction book is? What do an author and illustrator do?Discussion and questions before reading.Look at the cover of the book.Notice the green swirl on the cover. Watch and listen for it in the book. Read the book. Questions after reading the book:What is the main ingredient in cheese? Where did they put the cheese when it got to the White House? (entrance hall)How long did the cheese stay in the White House? (for over a year)What does the green swirl in the illustrations represent? (The smell)What caused the cheese to stink? (The heat and humidity of the summer.) Math: A ton equals 2,000 pound. Is that greater or less than Meacham’s cheese?Thomas Meacham made his cheese in 1835. How many years ago was that?If there are 24 teams of horses, how many horses is that? Hint: A team is two horses. (48) How many people showed up at the White House to “eat cheese?” (10,000)How many groups of people would there be if you put them in groups of 1000s? 500s? 200s?Show your work: 1 person = a groupDiscuss the terms circumference and diameter. What is the best way to measure the circumference of an object? (ruler? string? yarn?) Discuss.
Science:Why were the curtains removed, the walls painted, and the carpets aired? (dirt and cheesy odor)Discuss absorption. (Example: A paper towel absorbs spills.)Use “More to the Story” in the back matter. Discuss the steps in cheese-making.Give a simple definition of a chemical reaction: A process by which one or more substances are changed to one or more different substances. Why was a special ingredient added to the milk? (It makes the cheese curdle.)What is whey? (The watery part of milk that is left after the curds are formed.)Discuss the chemical reaction that took place. Can the cheese curds be turned back into milk? (no)Can the whey be turned back into milk? (no)
Social Studies:Where does the president of the U.S. live? (White House in Washington, D.C.)Use a map to find Washington, D.C.Who is the president now?Use a map and find the name of the river that the boat sailed on when it reached Washington, D.C. (Potomac River)
Art:Research and draw a picture of a schooner from the 1800s.
Challenge:Discuss how you would put a 1,400-pound cheese on a wagon and then on a schooner.Who was the president in 1836? (Andrew Jackson) Grades 4-5 PEW! The Stinky and Legen-Dairy Gift from Colonel Thomas S. Meacham Reading: Introduce the book: title, author, illustrator. Discussion and questions before reading the book.The author uses wordplay in the book. What is it? (It’s a literary technique used for wit and humor.)Give examples of wordplay. (example: This is going to be a Gouda book.)Have students listen for wordplay as you read the book. Read the book.
Discussion and questions after reading the book.How many examples of wordplay did students find? (slice of an idea, udderly amazing, ripe for delivery, cut the cheese (you may or may not want to include this, but it is wordplay), legen-dairy)Have students share the wordplay and think of other wordplay that might go with the PEW!Is this a fiction or nonfiction book? (It is a true story filled with researched facts which makes it nonfiction. It’s a slice of American history.)If an author is writing a nonfiction story, what resources can the author use to research the facts? (biographies, books or archived about the subject, primary sources-letters, newspapers, diaries, the internet…)
Math:If Thomas Meacham made the cheese in 1835, how many years ago was that?What was the weight, diameter, and thickness of Thomas Meacham’s cheese? Discuss the terms: diameter and circumferenceBrainstorm different ways to measure diameter and circumference. (ruler, measuring tape, string, yarn)Have students choose a measuring tool and find circular objects both large and small. What items is it? What is the diameter in inches, feet, yards? What is the circumference in inches, feet, yards?
Science:What is a chemical reaction? A simple explanation is a process by which one or more substances are changed to one or more different substances. A more scientific definition is
Watch the Youtube video on 19th Century Cheesemaking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B6qYQbvJWYDiscuss the video and the different parts of cheesemaking.
Try Making Your Own Cheesehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utyzDUrd2Bw
Social Studies:Who was the president of the United States in 1836? What was this president’s nickname?Who is the current president? Using a map of the United States, chart the journey of the cheese.
Art:Create a smaller version of Thomas Meacham’s colossal cheese by cutting the dimensions of the original cheese in half. (two feet in diameter and one foot thick) Working in groups, brainstorm materials that you might need to create the cheese (butcher paper, construction paper, scissors, glue, measuring instruments).With materials in hand, create a smaller reproduction of Thomas Meacham’s colossal cheese.
Challenge: Use the information in “More to the Story” in the back matter that names the rivers and canals the cheese traveled on to get to Washington, D.C. Can you figure out the distance in miles?