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Third grade students at The Heritage School Think Beyond while learning about the United States of America. They begin the year learning about the geography of our nation, so they can better understand the bulk of the year, westward expansion. They become Native Americans of the plains by experiencing their classroom as a teepee. This collaborative activity and unit incorporates reading, art, and social studies skills to enhance the experience of learning about this topic. Mr. Hall (a Lakota Sioux) visits with exciting history and artifacts.
After learning about the natives of the land, the students become pioneers and move west into the territories of the Native Americans. The classroom becomes a Conestoga wagon where the students read, write, and participate in what it was like to be a pioneer. They use their research skills to help make sure they are ready to visit Westville, while dressed in pioneer attire. This school year the students go on an over-night field trip to Rock Ranch to sleep in Conestoga wagons and experience what it was like to sleep and cook on the trail, like the pioneers.
As the students continue travelling west, the gold rush becomes the focus. A trip to Dahlonega, GA incorporates a gold mining experience that integrates the science of rocks and minerals along with the historical aspects that time period. These experiences allow our 3rd grade students to delve into the past while making connections to their own lives.