Calling all teachers: Help plan our new exhibit
Help us make history. Nominations are being accepted now for the History Center's upcoming "MN 150" exhibit. We want to hear from you! If you were to choose just one thing that means "Minnesota," what would it be? How might your students answer this question?
To celebrate our state's 2008 sesquicentennial, we're creating a major new exhibit showcasing 150 things, people, places, and events originating in Minnesota that have sparked change within the state or beyond its borders. We want nominations from the far-distant past to the present.
Let your students influence the work of real exhibit developers--at one of the nation's largest state history museums. Try one of these ideas, or come up with your own:
- Turn nominations into a class project, such as a scrapbook.
- Assign nominations as homework. Historical analysis skills will come into play as students conduct research.
- Write your own nomination. What person, event, or story compels your students year after year? Which Minnesota changemaker stands out most to you?
- Let us know about History Day projects involving Minnesota changemakers. Our exhibit developers would like to feature student projects in MN 150.
- Have students write nominations after their next field trip. Did you sign up for a relevant lesson at the History Center, such as "Minnesota Invents"? Will you be visiting Mill City Museum or one of our historic sites? Reinforce student learning by having them create post- trip nominations.
Your input is valuable! Contact Kate Roberts by phone (651-297-8839) or email to brainstorm ways to get your class involved. Enter nominations online or call 651-296-5519 to leave a message. Nominations will be accepted throughout the year.
field trip Programs encourage hands-on Learning
Two of our most popular field trip locations are right in the heart of St. Paul. Book them separately or follow the lead of many school groups and visit them both on the same day.
MINNESOTA STATE CAPITOL
Looking for a field trip that connects to your lessons on American Indian history, the fur trade, or early statehood? How about immigration, World War II, or politics and government? Try out the Capitol's many field trip choices, such as the two hands-on lessons below.
Taking an Issue, Making a Stand. Grades 7-8. Hands-on experience comes in the form of a mock debate. First, students participate in a government lesson. Then, they get the chance to dig in to a real legislative issue as they conduct their own hearing. Fee: $4 per person.
Voice of the People. Grades 9-12. Give your students a chance to see legislators in person. On this field trip, high school students receive inspiration to become active citizens. After a guided government experience, students observe an actual legislative hearing. Fee: $4 per person.
Special field trips are available for grades pre-K to 6 and 7 to 12. All groups may take Capitol's 45-minute general tour for free.
MINNESOTA HISTORY CENTER
Last month, the History Center debuted its newest K-12 education program: "Now on Display!" The activity, one of three field trip options available in the the History Center's "Museum Package," lets students take on the role of exhibit curator. After receiving a booklet titled with a specified theme, students explore the exhibits to find items that will fit into a museum of their own.
A group of eighth graders from Hastings was the first to try out the new program. Their teacher, Spencer Johnson, always encourages students to seek out objects that have meaning to them, such as artifacts involving Hastings. So the "Now on Display!" activity was a natural fit. After a brief orientation about what curators do, students received their museum-theme assigments and hit the exhibits.
- To show the theme "Bright Ideas," one group chose the weather exhibit's full-size 1930's windmill, the transportation exhibit's 1880's bicycle, and the Home Place theater's historic gas pump.
- Students with the theme "A Woman's Place" drew pictures of Harriet Bishop's sewing table and recorded various objects from the wedding exhibit.
- A group with the "Out of the Ordinary" theme chose an 1860's rifle owned by a fur trader from the Red River colony, along with the 1911 photo of the quetionably authenitic 5.5 pound hailstone, claimed to have been found in Pipestone.
- Another group of students chose the 1880's bicycle--known at the time as a "freedom machine"-- for their theme, "Revolution and Reform."
Like all History Center field trips, "Now on Display!" will be tailored to your age group. Sign up today by calling our scheduling office at 651-297-7258.
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ADULT LEARNERS discuss cultural Attitudes
As an ESL teacher for adults, Pam Nelson works with "students" from all over the world. An exciting challenge for her is helping people explore their new home in the United States.
"I used this activity in my class for Au Pairs, who are educated and fluent in English, as well as astute observers. I had each student write a list of perceptions they have about Americans, as compared to people in their home country. Then we went through the list and talked about why--what factors might contribute to a culture developing in a certain way.
For example, getting out a map led to a dynamic conversation about how natural resources influence cultural attitudes. In addition to natural resources and the land, we explored the influences that groups of immigrants or settlers have on the development of those cultural attitudes, such as the values of independence and individualism.
I am also using sections of the Northern Lights curriculum as reading lessons for an advanced group of ESL learners, who are immigrants.
I'm grateful to see the Twin Cities' growth in diversity in recent years. It's one reason I still live here! I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me."
-Pam Nelson, Adult Options in Education, Minnetonka Schools
Do you have a classroom idea you'd like to share with other educators? Please contact us with your idea. If your idea is chosen, we'll send you a free book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press.