A couple of weeks ago, the third grade class went to the Blackhawk Museum to explore the Spirit of the Old West exhibit. This exhibit is dedicated to presenting a balanced narrative of both Native Americans and American Settlers—depicting their challenges, their successes and failures, and their ways of life. Since the two main social studies units in third grade are about Native Americans and Pioneers, this was the perfect field experience to complement our studies.
The students saw many of the animals that roamed the plains and mountains, many artifacts from Native Americans and Pioneers, a life size replica of a covered wagon and a 150 foot long “miniature” diorama that tells the story of the settlement of the western plains. One of the third graders favorite activities was spinning the “wheel of death” to learn about the many ways the Native Americans or Pioneers might have died since life back then was much harder than it is today. They also got to briefly explore the other exhibits of the museum including the auto collection, the African art exhibit and the China exhibit.