Students experience Mansion Tour as '4th graders'
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
CANTON, Mo. – Culver-Stockton education students recently participated in a program for fourth grade students at the Governor John Wood Mansion in Quincy, Ill. Twenty-nine education majors took the roles of business and social leaders, caregivers, politicians, and soldiers from Quincy’s history while also assuming the role of a fourth grader touring the mansion. This was a unique and fun opportunity for C-SC students to receive hands-on experience.
The students began the program in the library next to the mansion with another group, except these students were actually fourth graders from Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Quincy. They had a short lecture on the history of the family, Quincy, and the mansion itself. Then, they split into smaller groups of about seven or eight people each and participated in different activities. These activities included: a library visit to introduce themselves as their assigned characters, a place to learn about period dress with examples, and a tour of the mansion. After the activities, the group headed back to where they started for a question-and-answer session and more history.
One student, April Welker, portrayed Christiana Tillson, who came to Illinois in 1822 when it was still a wild frontier. “She and her husband, John, moved to Quincy in 1843. Their son, John, married Ann Eliza Wood, the governor’s daughter. Christiana was known to be a business and social leader,” said Welker.
The students were astounded by the “non-textbook” history of the mansion. Welker stated, “There is a hallway that is suspended in the walls, in which you can’t see, but you can feel yourself swaying back and forth when you walk down it.” She was also surprised about the footwear donned by the men in the 19th century. “I never knew that men’s shoes were not fitted for a right and left foot! They were made the same and would eventually form to each foot as he continued to wear them.”
“This experience taught me that it is important to get students out of the classroom setting once in a while and get them involved in the history of their surrounding community,” continues Welker. “I also learned more about Quincy, the Wood family, and other people significant to the city. It was a great opportunity because it gives students the chance to see how that era was first hand instead of simply reading it out of a textbook. By doing this, students can get a better perspective on how people lived back in the frontier days and will have a better understanding of the history of the John Wood Mansion, family, and friends, as well as their historical significance to society.”
Dr. Terry Sherer, associate professor of education and division chair of education and applied arts, arranged the trip to Quincy. “The John Wood Mansion was another dimension of our ‘Museums as Classrooms’ initiative, which is intended to illustrate how teachers can make the social studies come alive in the classroom by incorporating local resources as a nexus of instruction,” Sherer said. “It is social studies that enables us to identify, debate, and change our values as citizens and consumers. It uses skills and information from other content areas to help recognize issues, communicate ideas, and solve problems. What better way than planning a multidisciplinary lesson that begins with local resources, recognizing what students can do to serve their communities, and being part of solving local challenges?”
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