This year, thanks to generous grants from the Perry Township Education Foundation, every elementary school was able to take its fourth-grade students on a field trip to Conner Prairie. Conner Prairie is one of the country’s most visited outdoor museums that allows visitors a handson opportunity to learn about science, history, art and nature.
The museum prides itself on appealing to people of all ages with interactive exhibits. Many of our students have never been to Conner Prairie because, in many cases, their families can’t afford to take them. This field trip allowed students to not only leave their neighborhoods but also travel back in time. One of the prominent exhibits is called Prairietown.
Students were invited to the 19th-century village to interact with the people, animals, objects and routines of Hoosier life in 1836. Visitors experienced the world of a student in a one-room schoolhouse. They also helped with chores and watched a tradesperson at work. Next, students retraced the 1863 Civil War journey of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his troops.
On July 8 they crossed a covered bridge across the Ohio River and stepped into the southern Indiana town of Dupont. During the simulation students met residents, gathered supplies for the Soldier’s Aid Society and participated in military drills. This unique experience benefits our students for a number of reasons.
It allows them to learn about geography and history in an interesting way. It also appeals to varied learning styles, helping children to succeed whether they are visual, auditory or kinetic learners. It can also spark new interests and encourage our students to try new things they may have never previously considered. Introducing our students to more of life’s possibilities is an important part of our teaching process. For more information on Conner Prairie, visit www.conner prairie.org. To support grants that provide exciting new opportunities for our students, visit www.ptef.org.