Fifth grade students in Mrs. Marchel’s class at Stillwater Elementary became true explorers for the day, as their “travels” enlightened them to many fields of study including astronomy, botany and musicianship just to name a few.
Students followed specific clues to navigate their way through different parts of the world. Their travels enabled them to learn and discover much like the original explorers did.
Their journey began in the office of the “Master Navigator” – school principal, Jack Madigan. The Master Navigator assisted the students as they constructed a compass which would help to guide them in their upcoming travels.
As students arrived at each destination, they received a stamp on their passports, to validate their arrival. At one stop they learned about the “sackbutt” a musical instrument much like today’s trombone. They also visited an apothecary, where they learned about spices from the Silk Road, and a botanist explained the properties of plants, oils and resins. In addition, students heard from an astronomer who taught the young explorers how to measure altitude, latitude and longitude. Along the way students had to pay with gold coins for the information that they received, and had the opportunity to bring back many artifacts from their exotic and exciting journey.
Teacher Ann Marchel shares, “I felt that my students would have a better understanding of what the explorers were faced with when sent out to find new lands and what the new regions could provide them to bring back to their sponsors. The key to exploration was expansion, goods and wealth. My kids, after this experience came away with a better understanding of the exploration process. On an interesting note a few of my students got frustrated with their team or ‘explorer-shipmates’ because everyone wanted to be the key explorer leader. We discussed that maybe that is why ships experienced mutinies as well. This type of simulation, that my students went through, just helps to solidify a concept being taught.”