Social Studies Class Provides Children’s Museum for Local Students

Elementary school students, in the Shawnee, Okla., area experienced a day of learning about pre-revolution America this week at Oklahoma Baptist University. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Dr. Jeanne Akin’s social studies elementary methods class invited fifth graders from Shawnee’s South Rock Creek Elementary, as well as children of OBU faculty and staff to participate in an interactive children’s museum that covered pre-revolution American history. “We provide a service to public schools,” said Akin, OBU associate professor of teacher education. “We help both children and my students create a way to make difficult historical concepts more meaningful to students in the early stages of education who can’t think abstractly. Social sciences aren’t cut and dry as we always think as a child growing up; there’s always more to it. “The most difficult challenge is determining what’s most important for the students to learn,” she said. “It’s very hard because there is so much history and we can only cover so much.” Members of the social studies class are Rebekah Brock, a special education major from Enid, Okla.; Emily Elmen, an elementary education major from Lewisville, Texas; Kristen Gaddie, an elementary education major from Derby Kan.; Anne Malthaner, an elementary education and early childhood major from Norman, Okla.; Shannon Martin, an elementary education major from Southlake, Texas; Rachel Schooler, an early childhood maor from Shawnee, Okla.; Kelli Vallandingham, an elementary education major from Shawnee, Okla.; and Pascha Whaley, an elementary education major form Oklahoma City, Okla. The class members worked in pairs, all in character. Each pair was in charge of a different station. Gaddie and Whaley discussed battles that led to the Revolutionary War, giving one perspective of a loyalist’s daughter and one as a patriot’s daughter. Malthaner and Martin were in character as storeowners in a waterfront market place, presenting taxation without representation and reenacting the Boston Tea Party. Schooler and Vallandingham discussed colonial life, how it differed from life in modern times, and help the children make candles, a colonialist’s only means of light. Brock and Elmen presented the Declaration of Independence itself, why it was written and what it stood for. Students who visited this station were given a real life issue to defend and deliberate.