Freeborn Co. students get a hands-on history lesson
Published 9:00 am Sunday, May 10, 2015
Area fifth-graders discovered history last week in a collaboration between the Freeborn County Historical Museum and Albert Lea High School 11th-graders.
Discover History was at the museum village Tuesday and Thursday, but the damp and cool weather didn’t dampen any spirits.
Fifth-graders from schools in Freeborn County came to learn from students in Jim Haney’s Humanities Social class. The class is for 11th-graders and is a College in the Schools class. About 180 fifth-graders visited on each day according to Pat Mulso, executive director of the museum.
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The fifth-graders could learn from 16 different topic areas, including transportation, immigration, school, agriculture, healthcare and church. Each topic area had three hands-on activities for the fifth-graders to participate in.
Students were washing clothes, planting seeds, sawing wood and beating rugs. There was even a criminal running around the village, and when students spotted her they yelled for the police to come and arrest her.
The project, which is in its 18th year, involved the 11th-graders researching topics, working with a mentor and creating a lesson plan, Haney said. That lesson plan is executed during the Discover History event.
What was interesting to Haney was seeing some of his former students come to the event, either as teachers or chaperones, and he said he talked to them about the projects that they were involved in when they were in his class.
The project is multigenerational, Haney said. Students must work with their mentor, their partner and the fifth-graders. These three groups span different generational gaps.
He also said students in his class learn skills in presentation, research, speaking and flexibility.
“Some kids find out they’re teachers,” Haney said.
Others find out they aren’t very good at teaching, he added.
Above all, Haney said, both the fifth- and 11th-graders learn more about history.
Mulso echoed that statement. She also said the older students learn a new concept of teaching and the younger students get a different perspective on things they are learning in class. Both the older and younger students also get a hands-on learning experience, she said.
All the fifth-graders in Freeborn County get to experience Discover History, Mulso said, and she said that says a lot about the community to support an event like this.
Mulso, who is in her 11th year with the Discover History event, thanked the 32 adult mentors who helped the 11th-graders with their projects as well as the volunteers.