Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Relating to Fourth Graders

   I can still remember my fourth grade experience at the North Rose Central School.   It was my first year after a year in a one room school.   For the most part it is a a relatively distant and somewhat indistinct memory.   Last Thursday I was reminded about the characteristics of fourth graders when 61  Groton Central School fourth graders visited the Living History Museum in Homer, New York.   I serve there as a volunteer guide for part of the day one day a week.
  Our guests arrived about noon accompanies by several teachers and parents.   Because of a rain out at the park they picnicked in the dry of our museum.  Normally we do not allow food or drink in the museum but an exception was made to allow our guests to eat sitting on the floor of our Brockway Truck exhibit area.  They were an active bunch but well behaved for the most part and very nicely cleaned up after themselves.
  Following lunch the larger group was divided into smaller section of about 20 students.   As guides we had the chance to lead them through the three different exhibit areas of the museum.  
  Keeping the attention of fourth graders is a skill that I have yet to develop.  However, I learned that asking questions was a way of engaging their interest.   Thus putting on my teaching hat, I attempted to fill them in on the history of the Brockway Trucks in a way that would relate to their life experiences.   It was fun to explain how engines and transmissions work and even to point out these elements in our exhibit.   The military museum has a number of  weapons, uniforms and so on that also kept their interest.   We also have train related artifacts that many could relate to since about half of the group had ridden on a train.   In the tractors of yesteryear area I felt most at home with illustrating the  unique features of the tractors on display.
    Although I am many, many years away from the fourth grade, I still enjoyed the interaction with these bright young people.  Perhaps the museum experience will enhance their appreciation of history.   As a living artifact, I hope they weren't too bored with my attempts to engage their curiosity.  I had fun and look forward to more school visitors.

Lunch on the Floor

Lunch among the Brockway Trucks

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