North View Elementary Conner Prairie Field Trip

The kindergarten team at North View Elementary created a unique opportunity for to participate in the engaging activities at Conner Prairie. We ventured out to the 1836 Prairietown, the Lenape Indian Camp and Animal Encounters on April 18, 2024. The students were excited and engaged in the many activities that were offered. They were able to interact with experts at the trading post, the store, the blacksmith shop, the carpenter and many other townspeople of the time. Many students spoke with citizens of the day including a dressmaker in a home, a woman who ran the store and the doctor who made medicines in his home office. Students learned how these citizens depended on each other to obtain objects and to get things done in their town. Speaking with the tradespeople and people in the town was the most impactful part of the trip!

Most students were entranced by the blacksmith who was making a horseshoe. One student said, “I’m taking notes!”. Students were very interested in how he worked the metal in the fire and pounded it into the shape of a horseshoe. Students learned about this trade in a reading unit just a few weeks ago.

Historic Skills and Art

Another tradesperson students spoke with was the carpenter. They were able to visit his storefront and see him working on a piece of wood. Several students were excited to see him use his tools to shape the wood and to see his finished products. They were amazed to open a small closet door and see many finished toys and pieces of furniture! They asked if he built the houses in the town. He informed them that some carpenters may do all of the building and finishing if they did not have much work to do at the time. The kids were anxious to touch the tools and shave some wood!.

The students in the above pictures were experiencing how the Lenape lived. This is one of the Native American tribes they studied. They remarked on how cold it might have been in the wigwam but then shared how they would often build fires and use animal skins to keep warm. The students interacted with the guide at the trading post to learn more about trades that various peoples would do. They remembered that furs were often traded for other goods that were needed. Students got to feel real animal furs and guessed what types of animal furs they were. They were reminded that these were animals found here in this region. One student exclaimed, “I love this place!”

Animal Encounters

Students were also able to pet some friendly animals at the Animal Encounters exhibit. One student wanted to take the baby goat home with her. She remembered that it is called a kid like she is sometimes called.

Students interacted with ‘Mrs. Whitaker’ at the store. She asked if they knew what the tablets were on the counter. One girl yelled “It’s for school… to write on!”. The girls were curious if they had to use money to “buy” the tablets. Mrs. Whitaker told the students that silver was the form of payment they would take at the store. She showed them a silver dollar, a half dollar, a quarter dollar and so on. The girls realized this is similar to the coins we use today to buy things from the store like food, clothes and books.

Students were also able to play games from colonial times. The girls to the left were trying to stand on stilts and walk around.
They also played the hoop and stick game. One student was able to push the stick clear across the yard on her first try! She realized she was really good at this old game. Overall, the kids really enjoyed the experiences at Conner Prairie. Parents were amazed at what the students learned and already knew about colonial towns and tradespeople. Many remarked on how they would come back for another visit to learn more. As teachers, we were thrilled to see our students engaged and using vocabulary they have learned. This experience brought all of that alive for them!