Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride
By: Pam Ryan
Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride tells the story of a true event where Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt took a nighttime ride in Amelia's airplane! Eleanor invited Amelia to a dinner party at the White House as the two are good friends. Throughout the book, details of the two's accomplishments and actions that go against the status quo are discussed such as Amelia's flights, and Eleanor driving. While at the dinner party Amelia offers to take Eleanor on a ride in her airplane, and against objection from the men of the secret service, the two take the flight! This is just one of the actions that model how these two famous, courageous, and free spirited women are role models. Through their actions in this book they demonstrate that it is just fun to go against conventions of society and be yourself.
Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride is at a third grade reading level which means that this book should be shared in the third grade; considering the historical content, this book should be used in 3-5 classrooms. This book is great to share as a read aloud for social studies. The book talks about two of the most famous women in the 1930s who defied social norms and followed what their dreams. So this a good book to share to teach students that they do not always have to do what people tell them; explaining to them the difference between defiance and appropriate resistance to peer pressure and societal pressure would of course be needed. This book mentions a few of Amelia and Eleanor's accomplishments, however it would be good to introduce students to Amelia and Eleanor first, before reading so they have some background knowledge to pull from while the story is read to them, and so the importance of these two women is better conveyed and understood. Reading a book about Amelia Earhart of Eleanor Roosevelt might be helpful to provide information one person at a time, and then activities following the reading that would assess students' understandings of these women. A discussion about the two, and then a short writing assignment would be helpful to students; they could write about if they rode with Amelia Earhart where would they want to go and why, or if they visited Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House what would they do there. Students will then have some prior knowledge of these two women and the story will be somewhat familiar to the students since they know who the characters are now. Before reading this story (Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride) the teacher can ask students what they remember about Amelia and Eleanor to refresh students memories though. While reading the teacher can ask students think about the time period and if the actions of Eleanor and Amelia were normal; did women (or people in general) do what they did? This is an important question to ask students because it helps students to reflect on the history of this book and reflect on the social norms today. After the reading students can do a writing activity with a prompt that the teacher comes up with, students could choose from multiple prompts or all students could use one. Students could write about what it would be like if they rode with Eleanor and Amelia, would the world look different, how would it look? This would be a good activity to do when working on adding details and descriptive words to students' writing. Another prompt to provide students would be to have students imagine what it would be like to live in 1933. Some research would need to be done so students have an idea of what life was like during this time period, especially because this time period was afflicted with the Great Depression. This would be a good activity for students to practice using research and evidence in their writing. Because Amelia and Eleanor rode in an airplane, this book could also be used in science and students could engineer a plane for Amelia and Eleanor to ride in. Provide a problem for students to solve, and then have them create and build. Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride is a great book to share with students to teach them about not always being conventional and following what is expected of you if it means going against your wants. It also provides an engaging way for students to learn about a friendship between Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt and their legacies. Writing activities help students develop their skills, and because this lesson can be integrated among multiple subject areas students can apply this knowledge in other areas, giving them more application, and making the learning more meaningful.