Jack and the Extreme Stalk

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Chapter 1:
An Experiment with Beans

There once was a boy named Jack, who lived with his mother in a small cottage in the country. They didn’t have much money, but they lived a happy, simple life.

One day, Jack’s mother said, “Jack, it’s your birthday soon, and I would like you to buy something special.” She put a small pile of coins into Jack’s hand.

Jack knew that his mother must have saved for a long time to be able to give him this money. He set off for market, determined to buy something special for both of them.

At the market, Jack saw a man who was selling beans. Jack wondered whether he should buy some beans. He needed to be sure that the beans would all sprout and then grow strong and tall.

Jack decided to brainstorm some ideas.
As he was thinking, Jack noticed that the man was selling bags of fertilizer too. This gave him an idea. Fertilizer would help the beans to grow.

When Jack returned home, carrying beans and bags of fertilizer, his mother was surprised. However, she knew that her son was extremely inventive.

Jack went into the field and dug some holes in the soil. He planted the beans and then sprinkled them with different types and amounts of fertilizer. He placed a label in front of each planted bean.

When Jack woke up the next morning, he was excited. He grabbed a ruler
and ran outside.

He wanted to measure and record the growth of his beans. A few of them had sprouted already! But one bean had grown into a mighty beanstalk stretching up all the way into the clouds! It had been fed with all of the fertilizers.

Chapter 2:
A Castle in the Clouds

The mighty beanstalk gave Jack another idea. He had always wondered how clouds worked. So he grabbed his toolkit and his notebook, and he began to climb. As he moved from leaf to leaf, Jack stopped to take notes about the weather.

When he finally made it to the top of the beanstalk, he was astonished to see a castle come into view.

Jack wondered what held the castle up in the clouds. Maybe it was a magic castle.

Curious to discover more about the mysterious castle, Jack crept up to the door and peered in. There he saw a gigantic man as tall as a house. He was wringing out wet clothes into a bucket and sighing loudly.

On a table next to the giant sat a hen in a basket, clucking quietly to herself.

“Everything’s wet again, Henrietta,” the giant muttered to the hen. Then the giant saw Jack, and he froze as stiff as a statue. He was not used to visitors.

“Hello,” Jack said, trying to be friendly.
“I’m not surprised everything’s wet when you’re living in the clouds.”

The giant slumped in his chair. “Tell me about it!” he groaned. “I can’t get any of my laundry dry, so I have to wear wet clothes all the time! Even my food is wet. My bread goes moldy before it goes stale!”

Then the giant remembered his manners. “My name is Gog,” he said.

Gog was lonely, living with only a hen, so he was pleased to have an unexpected
visitor. He was a very gracious host. He offered Jack tea and cakes and showed him all around the castle. The giant even had an exercise room.

As the pair wandered through the dark, damp castle, Gog pointed out many strange and magical things. Jack was particularly fascinated by the hen because it laid golden eggs.

While they walked, Jack told Gog about his life, ending with the story of growing the beanstalk. Gog sighed at this.

“I’d love to have a garden,” he told Jack, “but the clouds up here block out all the sun!”

Jack looked at one of the golden eggs.
Then he looked up at the skylight. Jack thought for a moment, wondering how he could help the giant. Then he got out his notebook and pencil and sat down to brainstorm.

“I’ve got it!” he cried at last. Gog looked down at Jack’s sketch, but he couldn’t figure out what it was meant to be.

Chapter 3:
A Marvelous Machine

Jack asked the giant for permission to build his machine. Then he got to work. First he searched the castle to gather all the materials and tools he needed. Gog simply stood by and watched, puzzled.

Jack worked so frantically that soon he had created a marvelous contraption, an original machine never seen before.

“What is it?” asked Gog.

“It’s a machine that will solve all your problems,” said Jack.

“But what does it do?” asked Gog.

“Well,” said Jack, “I’ve moved Henrietta’s nest into the rafters, so watch what happens when she lays a golden egg.”

Before long, Henrietta laid an egg. The egg rolled down a ramp connecting the nest to Jack’s machine. The egg crashed into a
coiled spring.

“See how the spring wobbles back and forth?” said Jack.

“Mmmm,” said Gog, still unsure of what was going on.

“Well,” continued Jack, excitedly pointing at the spring, “the movement of the spring turns these gears, and the gears turn this pole!”

“Right …,” said Gog.

“And the pole turns the fan, which I made out of flattened cooking pots,” said Jack.

“And the fan will blow the clouds away!” cried Gog.

Jack and Gog climbed onto the roof.
The machine was working perfectly, and for the first time in years, the giant could feel the warmth of the sun. Steam began to roll off his clothes as they dried in the heat.

Gog was so grateful to Jack for inventing such a wonderful contraption that he gave
him two big sacks full of golden eggs to take home. Then Jack remembered that his mother might be worried about him, so the two said good-bye. The giant invited Jack to return to the castle any time as his official problem solver.


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Posted in Lesson Plans & Activities, Story Time, Teaching Materials.

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