Tales from the Tread: Heritage education in the schools | SteamboatToday.com

Tales from the Tread: Heritage education in the schools

Candice Bannister
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

As teachers ready their classrooms and students purchase their school supplies to prepare to start school next week, the Tread of Pioneers Museum staff is eagerly awaiting the beginning of a new school year full of museum tours and programs for Routt County students.

Licensed teacher Katie Konold leads youth programming initiatives at the museum. Konold, staff and volunteers tailor programs and tours to coordinate with state curriculum standards and teacher ideas and goals while providing the tools and resources to inspire young minds.

Below are some key programs the museum provides:

• Museum tours (all grades): Students experience the 1901 Queen Anne-style Zimmerman House where turn-of-the-century, period-furnished rooms take students back in time to imagine the daily life of our town’s first residents using hands-on elements such as an old-fashioned butter churn to make butter, wool carders, an antique wash board and replica historic toys. Other museum exhibits explore significant historical themes of our area.

• Each One Teach One Tour (third to fifth grades): Interactive tours provide a museum experience that is fun and educational. Each One Teach One is a scavenger hunt where students learn about our local history and teach their fellow classmates.

• Colorado History Take Out (pre-K to fifth grades): The Tread of Pioneers Museum staff received training from Denver’s History Colorado Center to implement three new Colorado history programs for elementary students. “Western Work,” “Moving Day” and “Ute Knowledge” are extensive hands-on learning kits meeting state standards, which include large floor maps, artifacts, historical photographs, fact sheets and interactive learning activities.

• Western Work: Colorado Industries of the Past: Through objects, photographs and role-playing activities, students become entrepreneurs in some of Colorado’s most important industries. The program meets economic, history and geography state curriculum standards and explores natural, capital and human resources in state history.

• Moving Day: Colorado’s Migration Story: Students explore the movement of people across Colorado from prehistory to 1870, as well as Puebloans, mountain men, miners, Utes, Plains Indians and Hispanos. This program includes a large floor map that kids can move on.

• Ute Knowledge: Colorado’s Original Scientists: Students investigate how the Ute Indians used science, technology, engineering and math to survive and thrive in the Rocky Mountains. By testing materials, they’ll see how Ute people solved problems in the past and still do today. The program meets history, math and science state curriculum standards.

• Pioneer Life interactive tour (second to fifth grades): This is a fun, hands-on way for students to live the life of a real Routt County pioneer and includes activities such as ranching, homesteading, mining, blacksmithing and farming. Students then take their merchandise to sell, trade and/or buy products at 1910 prices in an authentic general store. It’s a great way to teach history as well as economics, both past and present.

• Discovery kits (kindergarten to fifth grades): We have recently updated our discovery kits to meet state curriculum standards. These are hands-on learning trunks that teachers can check out for use in the classroom on the following subjects: mining, Utes, Native Americans, mountain men, homesteading,and archaeology. Full of artifacts, photos, videos, books and complete lesson plans, teachers have all the tools they need to engage young students.

• Ute program: Our Ute program includes rock art and petroglyphs, the Ute Bear Dance, Ute facts and other Native American activities and crafts, such as beadwork, clay pottery and basket weaving.

• Story-time (kindergarten to second grade): A staff person dressed in pioneer clothing tells a story to young classes about traveling West in a wagon train; life as one of the first pioneers in Routt County, toys and games of pioneer children (with real replica toys to play with) and more.

• Go Behind-the-Scenes (third grade and up): Students can go behind the scenes with our museum curator to learn about artifact preservation, the role of museums, conduct hands-on activities and see collections not on currently display.

There is no shortage of educational opportunities both inside the classroom, at the museum or within the homeschool environment. Museum staff strive to inspire and engage local students and bring the history of Routt County to life.

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