Endeavour students bring history to life

April 20, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Fourth-grader Rose Didcock donned James Cook’s captain’s uniform for the third annual Night at the Museum event. All fourth-graders participate in the culminating project where they create reports, 3-D models and dress in costume to bring state history to life. By Chantelle Lusebrink

Ever wonder what James Cook, the famous Northwest Passage explorer, was like? Or maybe what Meriwether Lewis and William Clark would say about the Pacific Northwest?

Well, at Endeavour Elementary School, they break out the wax historic figures for the one night a year they come to life.It’s not a hoax and it’s not some unusual spell. It’s all made possible by the hardworking fourth-graders and performers at Endeavour who do their research, adopt a few accents and create authentic costumes.

“My family is from Britain and I learned we had a lot in common,” said Rose Didcock, who donned a captain’s uniform to play Cook. “He was British, too. But this jacket is kind of itchy.”

Rose recited Cook’s history and his explorations to anyone who walked by and cared to push the red button she colored on her hand.

This year’s evening included famous characters, like Lewis and Clark, but also others, like Chief Sealth and homesteading pioneers, missionaries and representatives from other American Indian tribes.

The students researched a time period, person or historic event and paired into teams to put together a large presentation about their subject, including historic photos and 3-D models.

“Night at the Museum provides Endeavour’s fourth grade students with a wide range of learning opportunities,” Principal Kathy Connally said. “They develop and showcase their own personal strengths as they take on the role of a famous person or present an event in Washington history. The experience brings history to life for students, creates a personal level of interest and promotes teamwork and collaboration.”

Together, Katelyn Feir, Victoria Caldera and Emily Martin created their project about pioneers and missionaries on Washington’s frontier.

The girls researched common phrases, what schools were like, what traditional homes were like and how American Indians and pioneers worked together.

The girls even created a log cabin, complete with most materials you would have found in a pioneer home and a covered wagon.

As far as actually living in the days of their forefathers, the girls agreed that they could live without televisions — although they’d miss them — and even showers, but the disease is something about which they worried.

“There was a lot of disease,” Victoria said. “And a lot of hard work.”

For students, like Michelle Frankovich, it gave her a chance to re-tell the stories she’d heard from her grandmother about her and her great-grandmother’s time during the Great Depression.

“My great-grandma wore this dress in the Depression,” she said, of the red patterned dress she was wearing, which had been immaculately preserved. “I found out that she was so poor then she didn’t even have soles on her shoes, they had to use cardboard and they ate a lot of potatoes. I couldn’t do that.”

Other students created projects about more modern times, like Nick Woodward and Zach Shim.

“We wanted to do our project about modern times because we have a lot of information about it and we know a lot about it,” Nick said.

The boys’ project covered major historic and financial events from World War II onward and included information about the Vietnam War and Cold War eras, the beginnings of Boeing and aerospace, and the technology and medical boom in Washington.

“We learned about our new economy and how it changed from being based on lumber, mining, fishing and farming to how we began manufacturing airplanes and how now we rely on the high-tech industry,” Zach said.

“This project not only gives them a chance to research and present what they learn,” teacher Katie Nack said, “but it’s a chance for them to bring history to life after reading and visiting the Northwest history museum in Tacoma. They get a chance to play the characters they’ve seen and read about.”

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241 or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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