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Colonial Days Churn Learning into Fun

Colonial Days

By Shelley Widhalm Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Six-year-old David Armstrong’s britches and white colonial shirt rippled as he shook a jar of cream to turn it into butter.

“Oh yeah, you’re getting there,” said science teacher Ian Stout, dressed like Benjamin Franklin, as he kneeled down to talk to David and his partner, Lilly Yates, 7.

Two classes of first-graders did the experiment Friday to learn the properties of a liquid changing into a solid during the first Colonial to American Revolution Day at Loveland Classical Schools.

Also called Colonial Days, the colonial-related activities churned hands-on learning into fun lessons in science, mathematics, English, history, physical education and art. The first-graders had their day first, to be followed by the third-graders next Friday.

“It’s bringing history, science and math to life,” said Kathy Miller, history teacher for first-, third- and fifth-grade. “You pull it out of the book, and you allow them to experience it first-hand.”

Colonial Lessons

Miller suggested her idea for Colonial Days to the subject teachers, who in turn thought up lesson plans to incorporate aspects of colonial life into what they are teaching. The subject teachers rotate classrooms managed by a classroom coordinator, while the specials teachers, who teach art, music and physical education, have the students come to their classrooms.

“It’s showing them what we spoke about,” Stout said.

Stout taught a unit on the properties and states of matter, as well as how electricity works. He started the colonial lesson with butter making, demonstrating that as the cream hits the sides of the jar, the molecules in the cream bind together to form a solid.

“When the liquid is slamming onto the jar, it’s making a solid,” said Lilly, who wore a bonnet that matched her floor-length colonial dress.

Caden Coberly, 7, explained the process, by saying, “The atoms come together to make molecules.”

To demonstrate static electricity, Stout told the students to rub balloons on their hair.

“You can make the electrons pushing away from other things,” said Allison Goss, 6.

In the classroom next door, math teacher Brandon Rolph dressed up as King George III — complete with a white wig and a gold-painted Burger King crown — for his lesson on taxation without representation.

Rolph assigned the students story problems about blacksmiths, farmers, sailors and merchants. The students had to solve the problems to earn “money,” from which they paid taxes for their use of desks, chairs, pencils and paper.

“I think they have a better understanding of what taxes are and how they are paid,” Rolph said.

Historical Plays

During their history classes, the students performed historical plays that they wrote with the help of their families on everything from the Lost Colony to the American Revolution. That lesson tied history with English, where they learned about the different components of plays.

As for art, the students created a mural with a timeline of historical events.

And in physical education, they played colonial games, such as marbles, relay races and hopscotch.

Their day concluded with an Independence Day picnic on the playground.

Next week, the third-graders will write poetry using quill pens, learn about colonial currency and create living portraits of influential people from the late 1500s to the 1700s.

“You have collaboration of all the teachers and coordinators in all the different disciplines,” Miller said. “You’re bringing learning to life. Students see the passion and love through the eyes of all the teachers, and they experience it.”