Tracker Pixel for Entry

Field trips: Setting the hook for lifelong engagement

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | March 4th, 2020

by Chris Dorfschmidt

I have always been a storyteller. My notebooks from school contained bits of stories or skits, things I found amusing, or ideas that would not leave my head until I had them down on paper. I still carry a notebook for that reason. My love of storytelling was a part of what made me an engaging teacher. Like a good story, I had to hook my audience. Right now, my focus is on field trips and how we can create a memorable experience. Students are not going to remember all of the facts that you try to cram into a visit, but they will remember an activity or experience they can’t do anywhere else. Some sites come with a built-in hook. The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site is a great example. Where else can you go 50 feet underground and see the keys that could start a nuclear apocalypse? That is my hook. Once hooked, we can dive deeper into the history, stories, and people. But just like fishing, you often need more than one lure, and that is what our sites are currently developing.

Several of our sites are currently working on revamping what happens on a field trip. We want to move past the formula of “watch this video, follow these rules, and complete this worksheet disguised as a scavenger hunt.” These sites are developing hands-on activities and programs to engage students. Up at Pembina, they are working on creating a game that simulates the fur trade. It is still in development, but once completed, it should make for a great learning experience. The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site is developing new educational days where students can learn about rockets and UAVs (drones).

Programs are not the only solution. Take all of the new changes coming to the Stutsman County Courthouse. A hands-on exhibit that teaches about civics and the role of elected government officials that people tend to vote for while not knowing what the position even does-- it’s a fantastic learning tool I wished existed when I was teaching government. This highly original new exhibit has the potential to reach kids outside of a historical context. We added LED lighting to show off the marvelous mechanisms of these magnificent machines and inspire the mechanically minded student. The history may not hook them, but the engineering might. I have the pleasure of touching up the paint on the courthouse's new 1908 Burrows Adding machine. I am not going to lie. I could have finished it in a day, but I am taking my time so that it can spend more time on my desk. It is that cool.

But not every school is going to be able to travel to all of our sites. The Chateau de Mores is most likely never going to give a field trip to students in Fargo. We need to address that. For the past few months, we have been working on developing a new program we are calling Ask-an-Expert. Using Skype, our fantastic content experts at the sites will be able to engage with classes across the state. The idea is simple. Our sites have created a list of topics that connect their site themes with the content covered in North Dakota Studies. Teachers can introduce the content to their students, have them think up questions, and then as a class call-in and have students ask their questions to experts. It is still in development, but we have run a few tests, and we were excited to see students engaging in historical thinking. In the next month or so, we hope to have some more information for teachers on how they can take part in testing this program out with us. We are excited by the potential and the possibility of expanding our offering and working towards adding full-fledged virtual field trips of sites.

Field trips allow students to see the concepts that they are learning in school in action. For some students, it may be the first time that they experience a museum, historic site, science center, or wiring closet. (Yes, I took several field trips to check out wiring closets.) We have an excellent opportunity to create lifelong museum-goers. All we need to dangle the hook and see what bites.

[Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 03-02-2020 at http://blog.statemuseum.nd.gov/ The official blog of the North Dakota State Historical Society]

Recently in:

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.comFargo, ND – Mayor Mahoney issued a city-wide mask mandate on Oct. 19th, shortly after North Dakota became the state with the largest number of new cases per capita in the US, a record it…

Shawnee Kaseman of Wishek, ND was awarded the title of Miss North Dakota for America 2020 this past September, but instead of preparing to hit the stage in a glittering gown under sparkling lights,she addressed pageant judges from…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

Editorial

Parler Games

by Sabrina Hornung

In a news cycle where it’s tough to discern fact from fiction, you may have noticed that a number of conservative media consumers are announcing their dramatic exit from Facebook and Twitter. After Twitter labeled a number of…

Is There Personal Liberty? When Does It Begin And End?It was bound to happen to an inquiring mind. Scientists around the world are monitoring sewage for outbreaks of COVID-19 because victims of the virus have had the very…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

Reviving Rural Grocery Stores in North DakotaBy Annie PrafckeFargo, ND – On October 7th, Gov. Doug Burgum awarded Milnor Market and the Forman grocery store project Main Street Awards, as part of an initiative led by the Office…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.comMusicians and concertgoers alike unexpectedly found their plans disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Artists and venues have been facing a situation that is unprecedented for most…

Sofia Coppola’s delightful distraction from national affairs sees the writer-director returning to her sweet spot: the tiniest whiff of autobiography in a story that, to paraphrase James Stewart’s Macaulay “Mike” Connor in…

By Jill FinkelsonWe’ve been hearing the word Unrest a lot lately. Unrest in the streets. Unrest in the capital. Unrest in our own homes as we struggle to hunker down in the face of the unseen pandemic. People are restless. They…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comEloise Breikjern has been the Executive Director of Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre since 2013. She will retire in December.High Plains Reader spoke to her about the strength of her staff, the…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Ashlee Nordquisthpr@hpr1.comI've come to the conclusion that not everyone understands why my brother and I went on ventilators for covid and what that means. As I survived and my brother SO FAR is improving, I can make jokes and…

By Marc de Cellemarcdecelle@midco.netAs someone who has voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the last decade, and who has participated as both a poll worker and an absentee vote counter in the last five years, I feel it's my…