5/20/2013 6:00:00 AM Kingman Academy students get taste of pioneer life
Kingman Academy of Learning Primary School’s 2nd graders recently learned about how the pioneers used to live. Each class put on a “Pioneer Community” display to show what they had learned. Here, Andrew Johnston makes a tree in Deanna Harnisch’s class Tuesday. JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Josephine Brandt (left) and Aspen Martinez work on their displays Tuesday in Karen Medlin’s class. JC AMBERLYN/Miner
KINGMAN - Brooke Hunter, 8, had mixed opinions last week on the idea of living during pioneer times.
"I would have liked to have lived during pioneer times because I like challenges, but I also like living today with all the things we have to make our lives better, like cars. Back then, oxen traveled two miles an hour. Imagine going 1,000 miles at that rate."
Hunter was part of four second-grade classes at Kingman Academy of Learning Primary School studying pioneer life as part of a two-week Social Studies unit. To better understand how the pioneers traveled, built villages, raised crops and interacted with Native Americans, the students created displays that included all the items necessary for survival - a water source, shelter, food, animals and transportation.
"The children learned about the pioneers moving out West and what they had in their wagons and later in their communities," said teacher Colleen Williams, who spearheaded the displays. "They learned there wasn't anything modern. The pioneers had to come together for survival. They lost a lot of pioneers to disease, and if the children didn't keep up with the wagon trains, the parents had to stay behind and try to catch up later. It wasn't fun or easy."
The displays were set up in the floors of classrooms taught by Williams, Karen Medlin, Lisa Julle and Deanna Harnisch. Students read about pioneer life, then worked together to determine what supplies their displays would need. Harnisch said her students were shocked when they made a list of what they thought they could take along in a wagon train and discovered the items weren't needed.
"I wanted to take my Kindle and my refrigerator to keep food cold, but I found out there was no electricity," said second-grader Aspen Johnson, 8. "I learned that back then, they didn't have houses like we do today. They had to grow their food and milk the cows and share their water supply. I wouldn't like to live back then because I wouldn't have as much stuff as I do today."
At various displays, students arranged animals in stables and barns, built log houses, glued pop-up trees in yards, placed popsicle stick bridges over meandering construction-paper rivers, fenced crops of carrots and corn, set up brown teepees and arranged cowboy figures on buildings and wagon trains. All were eager to share their interpretations of the pioneer life they learned about in their classes.
"I learned about what the pioneers used to live in, grow and take care of," said Derrick Reece, 8. "They had to grow food to feed their animals and make tools to build things. I wouldn't have wanted to live then because there are a lot of things we have now that they didn't. It would be hard to survive."