Seventeen Southeast Missouri State University education students recently collaborated with the historic Glenn House and Clippard Elementary to create a multi-disciplined learning immersion experience for Cape Girardeau fourth-grade students.
The Southeast students designed lessons to include content from several subject areas, including local history, math, science and literacy. The Southeast students then led 59 fourth-graders through each lesson as part of a field trip at the Glenn House, located in downtown Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
The Southeast education students worked with Clippard Elementary teachers to make sure their lesson plans complimented their current classroom curricula, which included building science skills through circuit building, developing entrepreneurship skills by creating solar-powered items to be sold at the Glenn House, and honing persuasive writing skills to be put to use as fictional lawyers for a “Glenn House scandal.”
The Southeast students then helped bring to life classroom lessons at the historic Glenn House. Southeast students led the fourth-graders on a tour of the house, providing social studies discussion about life in the late 1880s and how homes adapted to the introduction of electricity at the turn of the century.
“They toured the house and learned about how household features differed from that time period to now, such as the light switches, ice boxes, baby high chairs and a clavichord,” said Anna Drendel, a Southeast senior majoring in elementary education from St. Louis, Missouri. “When they came into the house, their faces lit up. It’s so wonderful to see that wonder and appreciation for history at such a young age.”
The Southeast students also led the fourth-graders through individual lesson plans, incorporating local and cultural historical elements. The project was the result of a partnership between Southeast’s Continuing Education and local contributors that provided lesson plan materials and supplies to help bring the learning experience to life.
Drendel created a lesson that combined science and history focused on transportation of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and trolleys.
“We watched a short video on how trolleys looked back then and how trolleys work, and read small passages comparing and contrasting trolleys to today’s modern transportation of taxis and buses. For example, trolleys use electricity instead of gas,” Drendel said. “Also, trolleys used to cost around $3 less than what a bus would cost today.”
Leah Bell, a senior elementary education major with a minor in middle school science content from St. Louis, Missouri, designed an escape room in the Glenn House that used puzzles to teach math.
“Students had to know how to multiply and divide to find mistakes given on an invoice to find a numeral code that unlocked a box,” Bell said. “They then had to remember a lesson from the classroom about a simple machine to get a clue about using a screw to solve a puzzle.”
The project was an opportunity for Southeast education students to learn how to infuse multiple subject areas into a lesson plan, work with local educators and community leaders and put their final plans into action, said Brandy Hepler, instructor of elementary education at Southeast.
“Content lessons can and should allow students to engage, explore, experience, examine and elaborate on the subjects in a way that they can relate to their world in a meaningful way,” she said. “This project helped our students as future teachers to want to create the best, most positively impactful learning environments for their students in the years to come.”
Drendel said the project was an opportunity to think outside the box as an educator.
“I learned that not all subjects need to be separate from one another, and different subjects can easily be integrated to make a more fulfilling learning experience for students,” she said. “This really gets students excited to learn.”
The project was a positive experience for the Southeast students, Clippard students and officials and members of the board of directors of the Glenn House, Hepler said. Because of its success, The Kellerman Foundation for Historic Preservation has asked her to replicate the partnership next fall with lessons focused on water.