Geography Day 4: Field Trip With Docents

 

Objectives:

  • Students will  distinguish among past, present, and future;
  • Students will describe the components of various jobs and the characteristics of a job well performed; and
  • Students will describe how specialized jobs contribute to the production of goods and services.
  • Students will obtain information about a topic using a variety of valid visual sources such as pictures, symbols, electronic media, maps, literature, and artifacts; and
  • Students will identify contributions of historical figures, who have influenced the community, state, and nation;
  • Students will identify historical figures who have exhibited individualism and inventiveness;

Preparation:

I have been fortunate enough to live in cities that have some very well curated museums that really focus on Heritage.  To name a few that would be helpful in various areas  :

These are museums that are specifically curated to recreate the past in the present.  These museums are interactive and open to children allowing them to truly experience life as the US was born.  Most of these museums also include docents who add to the transcendence of then in the here and now.  Do you have any museums near you or that perhaps you grew up with that you could suggest?  I will be more than happy to add them to the list.

The Introduction:

Before leaving for Constitution Village, we met in the classroom for a small discussion.  I of course opened with a review.  I had the kids once again show me Alabama on the map with no markers to help them.  Next I asked B and Lil’ A what they thought kids did before there were TV’s, IPads, video games, and malls?  Hearing their answers were interesting and entertaining to hear.   Playing games was of course top of the list.

The Presentation:

We arrived in the parking garage, once again with Baby K strapped to my chest, the bigger kids each occupying an arm, and the meter full we made our way towards the museum.  Upon crossing the street a tiny little cart, quite similar to the pope mobile pulled up in front of us.  From inside the man waved to B, and be lit up with excitement.  I explained to B that he was the meter maid, and once again bestowed upon B to job of keeping up with the time.  Upon entering the museum the lady at the front was kind and welcoming and she rushed us in so that we could catch up with a church group that was receiving a special tour.  The park is comprised of a series of buildings that were relocated in efforts to preserve history.  So when we entered the sheriff’s house, it was the actual sheriff’s house of 1819.  Docents were there to greet us at every building and fill us with knowledge on the things that even I, an original historical preservation major, did not know.

  • We stopped first at the print shop where the kids saw how books, papers, ads, were printed.   The kids were allowed to place the letters into the block to spell the words, and then were asked to spin the large spindle to make the entire thing clench the paper tightly.  They were made to leave the papers out to dry since this is a days long thing and then given a copy that was already dry to take home.
  • Next was a storyteller who sat in the sheriff’s home.  She told the story about an elephant coming to town (which just happened to be the ad we had printed in the shop).  In story they covered how much the boy’s family made, how much various items were, they way children worked, and how they spent their days.   The story was a bit long for the kids, but in the end I think it opened up a perspective of a child in these days.
  • Last was the wood shop.  The walls was lined in chairs that had been hand crafted, but on the work bench was a series of toys that were used in the early 1800’s.  The toys held a greater purpose those days, they were solely to occupy the children during labor, or to teach skills so they could work.  The woman explained that as early as ten some children began as an apprentice and worked their way up so they could start their own practice by 17.

Explore:

After the presentations were complete B, Lil A, Baby K, and I set off to wander the remainder of the park, and to revisit the home of the man who ran the print shop.  B and Lil’ A learned many things, many that B openly shared he felt was disgusting.  One being the utilization of silk worms, two being the purpose of bed pans, and three of course being the concept of out houses.

We approached a kitchen and I asked B, who is a frequent helper in the kitchen, where he would cook?  At first he was quite confused, there was no stove, no oven, and no fridge.   Instead there were foreign objects such as churns, mortar and pestles, and a large fire place.  I asked him where he would keep his milk?  Where he would boil macaroni?  Where would he bake his bread?  With much thought and experimenting he did come up with some answers, some correct and some not, but to watch the critical thinking taking place was, as it always is, inspiring.

As we worked through these items an incredibly informative docent came up behind me and really worked with B and Lil’ A on every item in the kitchen.  She let them work the churn and showed them where the goods were stored.  She showed them how to grind grains and the process to turn it into bread.   She took them to the well, which this man from Connecticut had constructed on the inside (something completely unheard of in the south.)

The Results:

B was lit up with enlightenment and inspiration.  We headed back to the car to once again pay the meter because B said it was time. Then as we once again hiked for lunch and ice cream downtown he talked to me all about the children who worked, and how interesting that was.   As we at lunch he told me about his favorite toys, Lil’ A throwing in a thought or two.  And then as we all piled back in the car to go home, he concluded his thoughts with the proclamation that when he grew up he wanted to be the meter man.

 

 

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