This past October and November, the Arlington Historical Society has been visited by members of our youngest audience — local third graders on their annual field trips! We had a wonderful time hosting 113 students from two Arlington Elementary schools. Staff, Education Assistants, and Guides worked together to present a fun and educational experience for students, teachers, and chaperones. Many chaperones and students commented on their desire to come back and spend more time in the house and the Smith Museum.
After a brief lecture by Museum Administrator, Faith Ferguson, students are split into three groups that rotate between activities. Because they are in smaller groups, students receive individual attention and are able spend more time doing each activity. When planning the activities, the staff at AHS thought about different learning models in addition to meeting the curriculum guidelines for third grade classes. The result is a variety of activities that are hands-on, interactive, and thought provoking. The following outlines the activities from fall 2012:
An Introductory PowerPoint: A short, interactive lecture on the history of Arlington and Colonial farm life by Faith.
House Tour: Tours of the house with our wonderful Guides.
Building Jason Russell House Model: Working with trained Education Assistants, students colored and put together their own paper models of the Jason Russell House.
Stringing Dried Fruit: Students learned the importance of saving food for the winter by stringing dried fruit.
Making Brooms: Students made their own brooms, a common chore for Colonial children.
Outdoor Yoke Activity: Groups of students were able to feel the (modified) weight of carrying water from what would have been the well. They were encouraged to speak about their experience and how it compared to their current, everyday chores.
Touchable Objects: Faith helmed a new station where a selection of carefully chosen objects from our collection were explored. Students were especially excited to touch objects, an act that is usually not welcome in museums. The tactile aspect made it a uniquely memorable addition to this fall’s program.
We already have 13 classes signed up for spring 2013 and are actively looking for both Education Assistants and Guides. If you are interested in participating in our program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a selection of quotes from our visitors:
“Thank you so much! The kids had a great time and I like the focus of the tour on what happened during the battle. The kids can come back and get a more in depth tour with their parents. The artifacts and chore activity were really fun.”
“Thank you so much! The students had a wonderful time! Thanks again for a great day!”
“I chaperoned today. It was a great visit. Can’t wait to come back and spend more time.”
“Thank you for a great time at the Jason Russell house. I learned some cool stuff. My favorite thing I learned was how they made flip. It sounded like a sort of weird beverage to drink. I also liked seeing the inside of the house and seeing how the people lived back then. I also liked seeing the bullet holes that the British shot. I felt weird and sort of heavy carrying the buckets with water. I also liked coloring and making the house model and taping it together to make it really look like the Jason Russell house.”
“Thank you for a great morning at the Jason Russell House. I learned lots of new things. Jason Russell fought for his house. Jason Russell’s house was a lot different than I expected. That was probably the best field trip I have ever had.”
“One thing I learned was that kids had to do lots of work all day, they must have been really strong. The kids had to stand during dinner; they must have been really tired at bed time. Well, thank you so much for taking me. Hope I can come back sometime.”
“I had so much fun because you gave my class a cool field trip. I saw neat stuff which was fun. It was especially fun when I carried the buckets.”
“I had a great time learning with you! I want to go there again with my family. One thing I learned is that some of the British soldiers came from the side instead of the middle. Another thing I found out is all the people that were dead got brought into the kitchen. One thing that surprised me is how many bullet holes we could see in the walls. I had a great time at the Jason Russell House with you!”