22 September 2012

Field Trip: Here's How!

We had a hog-killin' time today at our local outdoor pioneer museum!

But let me go back to the beginning. When this field trip was announced, Beth and I decided to make the week prior to the trip a themed week all about Pioneering.
Because I have an entire curriculum to finish by the end of this school year, I knew a lapbook was too much, but I wanted to do all the fun activities we had found online.

So on Monday, I introduced the theme to the kids, we learned what a pioneer is, where they came from, why they left their own countries and then the Old States, what they wanted to find here in America and out west. We took the world map and the USA map to follow their routes. Coqui liked to learn about the way they traveled (covered wagons) and what they could take with them (their packing list looked quite a bit different than today's list would look like!). Then we talked about life on the trail, especially the life of the children, and compared to the wonderful carefree life of my own kiddos!

On Tuesday, we made our own butter with this recipe. It totally worked. The kids took turns shaking the substance in a baby food jar. And when it was time to try it, Peanut agreed and Coqui ran the other way. We smeared it onto a slice of bread and Peanut ate almost all of it. I guess she really liked it.
For lunch, I made rice and beans (after our own recipe ressembling the Spanish rice) - talking about all the dry rice and beans those pioneers put in their covered wagons. 

Wednesday, we made this shadow clock, to demonstrate that pioneers had no Swatch watches, but read (or guessed) time by the stand of the sun and the shadows it throws on the ground. We started at 8 am with the longest shadow if the day. Coqui's head is somewhere in the grass - you can see a white dot, that's the chalk I left as a marker there. We came back every two hours. The last one was at 4 pm, it's in dark purple and not very visible, but it's there. We forgot to draw another one at 6 pm because the Hubby had come home earlier and parked his car over our clock.....
That same day, we also made home made apple sauce in the crock pot. I followed this recipe. Sadly, the kids did not want to even taste it, but lucky for me, because it was delicious! I am not sure what it is, maybe it's the texture as this is not looking like store-bought, and a little chunkier, too.
Next time, I will use a blender and maybe they'll like it better.

We also worked on a Math puzzle and some other things that had to do with pioneers, like counting tools and flour bags, or measuring things, especially weights.

On Thursday, we met with Beth's kids to do our fun games. If you didn't know (or just have a hard time believing it), but pioneers had no TV, no video games or iphones. They had to come up with stuff to entertain themselves, and others. Children's toys back then were much simpler and made out of wood or other materials like rocks or ropes. Nope, no trip to the local Toys'R'us for the poor children back then! So we played Rolling the hoop and a marble game. At first, they had trouble figuring it out, but eventually, the two big kids got the idea of it.

During the summer, Coqui had found popsicle sticks and we build a log cabin - not knowing that it would come handy later in the school year. So we skipped that activity, but we did talk about it, regarding the difference in heating and cooling compared to today's conveniences, and we talked potty business (which is oh so interesting to our children!).
Here is a picture of our creation: with a removable roof.

It was a fun week for all of us.
Yesterday, we wanted to remind the kids what we had learned, so Beth read a book about the Oregon Trail to the kids. They loved it and sat through the entire story.

Finally today, we went to the local outdoor museum that is about those fun pioneer times. Their exhibitions are mostly originals from around the state, like farm houses and barns, and even some tipis from the tribe that used to live here in this region. The originals were taken apart and put back together piece by piece.

This is a big place - at least when you are walking with a big group of nearly 30 people and children mostly under nine. They have a general store, of course, where you pay the entrance and can buy little nicknacks - we passed very quickly! And moved onto a town building with a smokehouse, an outdoor kitchen, and an outdoor toilet.
We had a lovely elderly man walking us through the house and explaining all the different rooms and tools. People definitely had much LESS during that time, than all the stuff that we fill our house with today!
Here is Coqui trying out an old-fashioned hearing aid.
Also, I think they liked the idea that back then, everyone was home schooled. 

They had a blacksmith there who was actually making a knife - the kids were mesmerized that someone was allowed to 'play with fire' and 'bang' on something!

Next things were the tipis. I was just a bit disappointed with it. I am not sure what I had expected, but more than what was there. I know, I know, I am European and fascinated with Indians....
But the kids had a blast as they were allowed to go inside the tents and explore with touching and playing.

Last but not least, there was a farm house of a poor immigrant family that lived in ONE room with 13 children! Wow. Peeking through the front door, it looked just a tidbit tight in there, trying to imagine to sleep in there with all the kids (not to talk about making those children ;-)). It also had some animals there, and an outdoor cooking station with hands-on stuff for the kids. They got to play there for a while. It was in the shade, so we adults didn't mind.

To say the least, my kids had a blast running around and learning. We were all dusty, so when we came home we not only enjoyed modern-day's air conditioning but a bath tub with look warm water to rinse of! After a well-earned meal, I needed a break, because I was as I was all dragged out from all that walking and carrying. Because I was walking with a baby strapped to my front, and to top that, I had a backpack on my back. So round about, I had 15 extra pounds on me, and it was just close to 90 degrees again today. Yep, I needed that shower!


C. Beth said...

The pioneer week was a lot of work but it was so fun! I hope my kids carry great memories of that themed week, for years.