Saturday, April 01, 2000

Kids get taste of 19th century

Hands-on lessons at Sharon Woods

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SHARONVILLE — Travis Nelson, 8, and Alyssa Rollo, 9, were fascinated with the idea of taking old clothing, cutting them into pieces and putting them together to make a quilt.

        Cameron Scheidler, 9, and Jennifer Nedrich, 8, were amazed at how pioneers could cook a meal on an open fire.

        That was a slice of 19th century life third-graders from St. Gabriel School in Glendale learned about in an adventure program at the Heritage Village Center in Sharon Woods.

        The program, for all area third-graders, is sponsored by the Historic Southwest Ohio and Colonial Dames in collaboration with the Hamilton County Park District.

        “The purpose of the program is to make them aware of how the basic needs of shelter, food, water, fuel, communication and transportation have been achieved in the past, are being met today and will be provided for in the future,” said Lynn Elzey, program director. “The students partici pate in a series of activities designed to teach them about early pioneer life in Southwest Ohio.”

        Thursday, 60 students were divided into six groups. Half the time was spent learning about Native American Life, fossils, glaciers and the geology of Sharon Woods.

        The other half was spent in the Heritage Village, learning about 19th century life through a tour of the Kemper Log House and Kemper Kitchen, built in 1804 and the Benedict Cottage, built in 1820.

        One group sat in the living room of the Kemper House with whitewashed walls, a rocking chair, candles, a block house and a foot warmer.

        Teacher Rosie Broxon quizzed the kids about the difference in pioneer living rooms and their own living rooms.

        Most of them noted right away the lack of a television set and electricity.

        Teacher Marge Paolino explained how pioneers grew, harvested and prepared food. They were shown how to string a piece of apple to preserve it by drying it out.

        While the classes focused on pioneer life, they also involved teaching math. As Mrs. Paolino cut the apple into pieces,students answered how many parts she cut up and what fraction each part was of the whole apple.

        “We introduce facts about 19th century life, but the aim is for students to relate the information and learning activities to their own personal experiences,” Mrs. Elzey said.


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