Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 26, 2014
On Friday, fifth grade students at South Side Upper Elementary set up a Renaissance museum for their peers.
Fifth grade teacher Kristy Wheat said in order to prepare for the two-day event, she separated the children into groups based on their own interests in that period of history. Each group was then tasked with researching those aspects of life during the period and preparing a presentation that included demonstrations and props. Part of their research involved taking field trips to the Renaissance Festival in Louisiana and the INFINITY Science Center in Hancock County, where they noted what kinds of exhibits appealed to them the most. By determining their favorite type of exhibit, they could use that information to build one of their own.
“It’s been amazing how engaged the students are,” Wheat said.
Thursday and Friday, based on their research and preparations, the students became teachers to other students at the upper and lower elementary. Observers that came through the caffetorium, where the event was held, were treated to student presentations. Exhibitions included topics such as astronomy, Renaissance clothing, fatal diseases, do’s and don’ts of the era and blacksmithing.
Wheat said the project was designed to incorporate and build upon each student’s skills in language arts, reading and math.
Not only did the students learn about the Renaissance, but also built upon their problem solving skills. Wheat said one student was so determined to get his exhibit to work properly he devised 15 different methods to properly light his display before he was satisfied.
Grades were given to the students for their work in the areas of speaking, listening, research, building models and social studies.
Students also wore clothing reminiscent of the time period and put on performances demonstrating jousting, period dance and performed lines from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Exhibits centered around live demonstrations. The Newton’s Law demonstration featured students providing examples of how an object’s center of gravity works, how energy is transferred from one object to another and showed how two balls of differing mass traveled through the air at various speeds.
Another display used a laptop to show students the types of musical instruments played in the Renaissance era.
The Blacksmith shop was where observers could get a look at weapons used during the Renaissance, while the disease presentation covered the Black Death, flesh eating bacteria and leprosy.
This project was funded with a $15,000 grant from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation. The grant funded the field trips, costumes and materials needed for the exhibits, Wheat said.
Wheat plans to build on this project to include other district schools in the coming years.