Wyoming 6th Graders Learn About the Civil War

I’ve commented on this before, but I do find it curious that there is such excitement whenever a history class visits with reenactors.  There are no doubt reenactors who study their craft and who have given thought to educational outreach.  More often than not, however, I’ve read story after story of entertainment as a substitute for serious learning.  In this case we have a class of sixth graders who are quite capable of struggling with some of the core issues of the war.  Instead here is what we get:

"It got pretty loud," said Levi Kretch, 12, who, like everyone else, plugged his ears when the cannon fired.

Bob Mullen, in Yankee navy blue, showed the students a cannon round that fired much like a shotgun shell. "One of these hit you, I don’t think there’s much hope for you," he said.

Outside, another cannon volley sounded and again the children were thrilled. "Whoa . . . cool," one exclaimed from the group.

"Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?"

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1 comment… add one
  • Clio Bluestocking Apr 3, 2007 @ 11:50

    But it’s related to history, and its the Civil War, and its our heritage, so its good, right? (I’m being facetious.)

    Actually, your post reminds me of something that I just read in Sarah Vowell’s book, “Assasination Vacation.” She wrote, (I’m paraphrasing), “house museums seem concerned with the thingness of the thing” rather than the history. They become so steeped in explaining the minor details of the house that they fail to address why the house is important as a part of history. That seems like what is going on here. The big noise of the guns matter more than why they were being shot. (Of course, some of this might just be a flaw with the reporting, which itself is another issue.)

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