Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Living History in Middle School

May 25, 2012

Heritage Middle School

Hilliard OH

Setting up camp Thursday evening for a school day on a field at Heritage Middle School in Hilliard OH we saw promise as a handful of kids came to watch us set up.  We have seen many times where kids seem to know nothing about the Civil War and are left to wonder at the failing of our school system when they don’t teach history.  I’ve even heard the question, “So which war was the Civil War?”  But the teachers we encountered at Heritage Middle School had an honest passion for teaching their kids, and the kids had an honest passion for learning.

We demonstrated a little on Thursday—I performed a short speed-loading demonstration, firing off three rounds in a minute two seconds (a little slow for me).  They were even fascinated by watching Sgt Mott start the campfire with flint and steel.

We had to be very conservative with the wood for the campfire—we only had about enough wood to burn during the actual demonstrations, so extinguished the fire for the night.

Morning started early.  The school served Danishes at 6:30, and at around 7 the first group of eight graders came through.  We had four stations for the kids and had little break.  First station was Doc Gill for medical, a couple of the ladies demonstrated at another station, Sgt Mott and I demonstrating the soldier’s camp life and gear at a third station, and Sgt Shaw, Cpl Carte, and Pvt Wiseburger drilling at the fourth.  Each station was to last about half the class period so the kids could rotate through at least two stations per period.  We had about six or seven periods over the day, and I got to know Sgt Mott’s spiel pretty well by the end of the day.  Our sessions went long enough that we often missed when the kids rotated, not realizing they had switch sessions (sometimes they wondered between stations on their own) until we found ourselves repeating answers to questions.

It was  a good time, and we are looking forward to doing it again next year.

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