Oct 2, 2009

Teachers - Bring Your Content Area to Life with Living History

Reading an article about reeanactors visiting a school reminded me of when I worked in the public schools as a high school media specialist, and had the opportunity to do living history presentations for law, medical arts, literature, and science classes, as well as history class. A presentation would deal with some aspect of the Civil War that related to the class subject area. The most popular presentation I did was on Civil War battlefield medicine for Medical Arts Week, for which I and a reenactor that portrays Major Margerie Walker, a surgeon during the War, reenacted a field hospital operation. Students participated as well, portraying hospital orderlies. Another presentation was done for a chemistry class studying rapid combustion. I portrayed a soldier of the American Revolution training enlistees to handle black powder and the Brown Bess musket. Another approach is to give students extra credit for attending a reenactment, living history event, or place where historical impressions are part of the program, such as the hospital room at Trenton's Old Barracks Museum.

This Table of Fire used for calculating the elevation of a cannon is an example of the kind of item you can find at a reenactment. This belongs to an artillery unit which demonstrated firing a cannon at the New Market Heights commemoration. The table and cannon firing demo can be used in learning math, computer programming, history, communications, probably other topics that I'm sure a creative educator could imagine.
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Reenactors are happy to share their knowledge and welcome questions from students.

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