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OBU Teacher Education Majors Host Interactive “Night at the Museum” for Area Elementary Students

April 7, 2022

Teacher education students at OBU hosted an interactive children’s museum March 30 on the University’s campus in Shawnee. Fifth grade students from Grove Elementary in Shawnee attended the event, along with a group of multi-aged students from an area homeschool co-op. The event was held on the second floor of the Geiger Center.

The theme for the museum was “A Night at the Museum: A Study of Four Historical Times,” based on the popular film series. The theme throughout the study was “pushing the boundaries” and highlighted the pioneering spirit of each time period. Each area provided a historical context of the time period and simulated activities that demonstrated the struggle and triumph of each time period.

Teacher education students in the social studies methods course created the living history museum. These students included Jordan Sonsel, Grace Vernon, Rylen Moore, Lauren Coker, Emilee Robinson, Darra Lamar, Emily Tiger and Avery Delano.

Using the movie as a springboard, they taught about different historical periods and characters, including westward expansion and Jedediah Smith, westward expeditions and Sacajawea, Lewis and Clark, ancient Rome and Octavius, and early aviation and Amelia Earhart. Through each exhibit's activities, the students consider the theme of pushing the boundaries and the pioneering spirit.

The social studies methods course is taught by Dr. Jeanne Akin, Mary A. White Professor of Education. Each fall and spring, she challenges students in the course to design and create interactive and engaging displays using only materials available to the average educator. This was the 45th biannual interactive children’s museum created by her classes.

Akin looks forward to this project every semester because it is such a valuable experience for the elementary education majors in her class, and it likewise brings local elementary students onto the OBU campus.

“The project provides the teacher education majors an opportunity to plan curriculum using a range of social studies methods, such as simulations, characterizations, enactments with props,  and more,” Akin said. “The future educators learn how challenging it is to teach children social studies in meaningful ways and the sacred responsibility that it is to be a teacher of history. The project also provides an opportunity for young students to come to a college campus and begin to see themselves as future college students. It is an opportunity to plant a seed.”

Learn more about the Henry F. McCabe Family School of Education at OBU.