Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


March 4, 2014

Junior high students dig into pre-Civil War history


“I like the history behind it,” Erica said.

The two students joined forces to also build a cardboard model of the fort after its destruction, to show the amount of damage the fort sustained.

For their research, the two looked up diagrams and read books to assure their models’ accuracy.

Both Zoie and Erica said they had much more fun with hands-on learning than in a traditional classroom.

“In class you’re just doing paperwork,” Erica said.

Vanessa Brickett, 13, and Haley Brown, 14, learned about the Confederate States and built models of the First White House of the Confederacy and Fort Sumter.

The White House model included a porch with white columns, steps leading up to the porch and wax paper for windows. As the model’s front door, the students used a print of a photograph of the actual building’s front door.

Social studies teacher Jason Tucker said that while some kids struggle in a traditional classroom setting, most students get more excited about learning the material when the lessons involve some hands-on projects.

Fellow social studies teacher John Tindell said the approach allows students discover on their own, within certain parameters, in what way they can learn best.

The students also had to give presentations to their fellow students about their projects, and Vanessa relayed that the White House of the Confederacy was occupied only by Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy’s sole president, when the Confederacy’s capital was Montgomery, Ala.

Vanessa said that conducting the research on her own and in her own way helped her understand and retain more of the material. And Haley said that putting your hands on the physical representation of the White House or fort brought history to life, making it easier to understand.

James Dreyer, 13, and Kael Claybrook, 14, built a model of Fort Sumter out of Legos.

“You can get the point across in a really fun way,” James said.

He, too, enjoyed the hands-on learning.

“I think it’s way better than just taking notes in class,” he said.

Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401;

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