Linden — Second grade is when students learn about their local history, and Linden Community Schools and Linden City officials worked together to create an interactive learning experience for students this month.
This past week, teachers and chaperoning parents took the students downtown to tour Linden City Hall, the Linden Police Department, the Linden Fire Department, Eagle’s Wooden Park and all the levels of the Linden Mill building, which includes the council chambers, the Linden Library, and the Linden Mills Historical Society and Museum.
Heidi Phifer, second grade teacher at Linden Elementary, said they’ve been doing this field trip with the kids for at least 15 years. She brought her students to explore these facilities on Tuesday, May 23.
“Their curriculum through the whole entire school year is about community. Goods and services. We’ve done a lot with what makes the community, what’s in a community,” she said.
In the museum, volunteers taught the students about the old school rooms, the buggy that was originally made in Linden, the general store, Native American artifacts, old wash tubs and more.
Barb Maas, member of the historical society and museum committee, said “They came to learn about Linden history in the early days, what we did back in the old days, they learn about the beach buggy, and how it was made here in Linden. All the different stations focus on what was done maybe during their great grandparents’ time.”
The school room in the top level is one of the students’ favorites.
To learn about local history, Phifer said they also took students to the Sloan Museum and Longway Planetarium and did a modified version of Box City. They’re also planning to go to Crossroads Village. Due to construction at Linden Elementary, Phifer said they’ve been coming to the Linden Library more.
“It was really nice. They were super excited every time we would walk down here. It’s like a mini field trip every couple weeks…I’d like to figure out how I can incorporate that into next year. I think that it’s a huge eye opener to them about what’s available in the community,” she said, adding that the trip to the museum was a good introduction for the students in regards to what’s available at the museum. “If they could come back again, that would be great to slow down and take their time to really look at everything.”
“I think if you know the history or know more about the history, you have more respect for your town and your surroundings,” Phifer said. “We have an officer at our school so they want to go to the police station and see if he’s there. Not only are they getting knowledge about the past, but I think it’s a huge respect thing. Respecting the people and respecting the environment and respecting the past.”
At city hall, staff gave the students fake money and had them pay a “tax bill.” Then students had the opportunity to engage in their civic right to vote for their favorite season. Staff put up voting dividers and tallied the votes at the end of the day. All the classes picked summer as the winner.
The fire department opened up the fire hall and let students explore the fire trucks. Police officers let students sit in their police vehicles. There was a line of students waiting to sit in construction equipment brought by the Department of Public Works.
Hyatt Elementary students took the tour on Wednesday, May 24. In the council chambers, they received a note of thanks from Councilor Ray Culbert for their effort on the Box City project and got the opportunity to bang the gavel.
Hyatt Elementary students and Linden officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil their city of “Box Burg’’ on Wednesday, May 17 after weeks of hard work. City officials gave them a presentation about what buildings and structures make a community and then students constructed a city with craft materials.
Elizabeth Clarke, second grade teacher and organizer of Box City, said Hyatt had another successful year for Box City. Approximately 97 students from four different classrooms participated in the project.
Clarke described Box City as a “hands-on interdisciplinary experience in community planning and design.”
“The purpose of this project is to support our second grade social studies curriculum, problem solving and social skills. Every year the students amaze us with their wonderful ideas. Their buildings were colorful, creative and unique. I couldn’t choose a favorite. We are proud of this year’s group of students and their builds,” she said.
“Our visit to the museum offered a wonderful look into the past and how Linden has changed over time. We were able to compare and contrast how people lived long ago and how we live today. Our walk also helped us understand how city planners added buildings and spaces to meet the needs of the people over the years. To complete the unit, the children will create a brochure of Linden to visually communicate what is special about their town and local community and their dreams for their city’s future,” Clarke said.
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