This was our first real week back to school and history from the holidays. The break was nice but we (or at least I) were ready to be back in our routine. We started off history with a field trip to one of our state historic sites, the CSS Neuse, a confederate ironclad that was salvaged from the river in the 1960s. If you live nearby, I highly recommend this trip. It was very informative, fun, and affordable.
We started the time there with three demonstration stations. At one station, they learned about spinning wheels and weaving, at one station Civil War medicine, and at the third they were able to learn all about local battles and how railroads and ports played an important role in the war.
One thing the children found really interesting about the Civil War medicine presentation was that the basic surgeical tools used then are remarkably similar to some of the tools still in use today. However, modern medical techniques greatly increase battlefield survivability. More importantly, the understanding and control of infection is vastly better today and makes a huge difference in survival rates.
After the demonstrations, the children each received a scavenger hunt to help guide them through the museum and learn more about the CSS Neuse and the Civil War. This was a fun way to learn in a more self-guided manner. The remains of the ship are preserved in the museum and really neat to see. They also have a full size replica that is across the street and helps people get a better idea of what it would have looked like during the war. There was information about the ship itself, various battles, life during the war and other relevant topics presented on display boards with artifacts, models, and videos.
Once they completed the scavenger hunt, they had a chance to work on a small weaving project using a cardboard loom. It was a great way to finish up the trip and leave them wanting to learn more. We are hoping to go back and a spend a day learning more about the fiber arts aspect of the time period, an unexpected bonus for what was intended as a military history trip.
This was a great way to kick start our studies and a field trip I highly recommend to those in this area. If you are not local they have some resources on the website you can use to get more information virtually and there are other great Civil War historic sites listed on the National Parks website or many of the websites for various states.
Next week we are working on a timeline of the Civil War and learning more about some of the battles. The children will work together to complete the free printable timeline project found here. Then they will each choose a battle, or campaign, to learn more about and present to the family. To help them with their research I have found several sites that have good information. The National Parks Service and this Ducksters timeline which is geared more towards children. In addition we may use the World Book online resources that are included with our Schoolhouse Teachers membership.
What Civil War field trips have you enjoyed? Please let us know in the comments. Don’t forget we have a list of Civil War resources in the free resource library.
When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.
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