Garrett Bowersox looks through a pile of books in Adrienne Burch’s third-grade classroom at East Elementary School. Burch’s students were tasked with determining whether a book was fact or fiction, a skill they would use during a three-week research project about Craig history.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Garrett Bowersox looks through a pile of books in Adrienne Burch’s third-grade classroom at East Elementary School. Burch’s students were tasked with determining whether a book was fact or fiction, a skill they would use during a three-week research project about Craig history.

East Elementary 3rd-graders looking back in time at Craig’s past

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East Elementary 3rd graders prepare for Craig history projects

At a glance ...

• East Elementary School third-graders are starting a three-week project to research Craig’s history.

• Students will be required to learn about Craig’s past through books and other sources.

• The lesson culminates with a timeline children will make to represent how the town changed over time.

• The project is designed to teach students how to evaluate sources and understand how the past influences the present.

Quotable

“It’s so easy to focus on the positives — all the cool stuff (technology provides). But they also need to recognize as they grow up to be leaders that we have to be careful.”

— Adrienne Burch, East Elementary School third-grade teacher, about what she hopes her students learn from a history research project she’s teaching.

Children born in the Information Age may be shocked to learn the gadgets that surround them — TVs, cell phones, game consoles — didn’t exist until recently.

Case in point: “They thought it was hilarious that I had never seen a cell phone until college,” Adrienne Burch, an East Elementary School third-grade teacher, said about her students.

“And many of them have had cell phones since they were 5.”

Burch, who is tasked with teaching Social Studies for East’s third-graders, is launching a project this week designed to get children more in touch with the past.

Its purpose is to bring home to students “that the past affects the present, that technology affects the community and that those things change,” she said.

The three-week project will send them digging into books and other sources to learn about how Craig has changed over time.

Ultimately, students will to trace the city’s roots back to the “exploration of the Yampa Valley in the mid-1800s,” Burch said.

They’ll also go one step farther and investigate the causes that gave rise to some of the area’s biggest changes, including the founding of Craig and the opening of local coal mines, she said.

This project won’t be the first time students have delved into the past.

Students participate in Apple Valley School, a simulation of a one-room schoolhouse of the mid- to late-1800s.

“They’re fascinated on how (students in the 1800s) didn’t have cars, TVs (or) video games,” said Bobbi McAlexander, who team teaches with Burch and is in charge of teaching science to the third-graders.

Although parts of the past are distant, they can still capture students’ imaginations.

“History just enthralls them,” McAlexander said.

The project also will touch on skills students will use throughout their education. Burch intends to teach them how to take notes and evaluate whether a source is suitable for a research project, she said.

That component of the lesson began April 11, when Burch tasked them with choosing a handful of books and determining whether they were fact, fiction or historical fiction.

At the end of the project, students will make a timeline to represent major milestones in Craig’s history.

Ultimately, Burch hopes her students take history’s lessons with them into the future. She wants them to consider how a dependence on fossil fuels can affect the environment and people employed in the energy industry, she said.

“It’s so easy to focus on the positives — all the cool stuff” technology provides, Burch said.

“But they also need to recognize as they grow up to be leaders that we have to be careful,” she said.

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