Last week at work, Tom and I had the opportunity of teaching young people – one of our favorite things to do. We love working with kids because their minds are open and they are usually eager to learn.
On Friday we had 100 7th graders from a nearby Catholic school. In April we have a huge education day at Kings Mountain with 700 young people and this was a practice run. Everyone who works or volunteers at Kings Mountain was involved and we all got a chance to see what we will be doing in April on a larger scale. There were six stations where the kids learned about colonial living. The young people also got the opportunity to see the movie, walk the trail, and (ta da!) experience the map program Tom and I developed.
We were teaching the students in groups of 25, so we had a chance to get most of them involved. Each of the kids was assigned to the Loyalist or Patriot side and had a chance to manipulate some of the soldiers we painted on the topographic map we created. We had them shouting “Hip, Hip, Huzzah!” and making gun firing noises. They learned why the battle went the way it did and some of them got to pretend to be different commanders. The students being the Loyalist commander, Patrick Ferguson, did a great job whistling and “riding” their horse up and down the field. The Patriot commanders ran away from bayonet charges and raced up the hill with their men to surround the Loyalists.
Tom and I had fun teaching the young people as they recreated the battle and I think they went away with a better understanding of what happened and why. The Park Superintendent listened in on one of the map classes and was very impressed with what we did.
Meanwhile the rangers and volunteers taught the kids about archaeology, colonial dancing, colonial clothing, dyeing, and everyday objects. There were also volunteers who were trying to convince the young people to be Loyalists or Patriots. One of the rangers made them all drill in the militia. It was a beautiful day and the young people all had a great time.
On Saturday we had another opportunity teaching young people. A troop of Girl Scouts, from 2nd grade through 6th, came to the park. I taught them some cooking skills, and Ranger Leah taught them colonial dancing, games, and had them dress in colonial costumes. We made a sausage-apple tart and a pork roast. Both turned out very well and the girls ate up most of the food (which the rangers finished). Tom built and tended the fire. When we weren’t busy with the Girl Scouts, we had the chance to talk to other park visitors about what we were doing. Because of the beautiful weather, we had almost 1,000 visitors on Saturday, so there were plenty of people to talk to.
Teaching the map class and dressing out to teach colonial skills have been a lot of fun. We love teaching young people (or even older people) and sharing what we know. I think people respond when you are enthusiastic about your subject.