As the school year wraps up, many teachers are providing their students with learning experiences outside of the conventional classroom. It is a very exciting time as students and teachers alike are eager to apply the skills acquired throughout the year in a new and engaging way. This past week 5th graders had the opportunity to explore Cantigny Park.
Cantigny is a local park located in Wheaton that was once the estate owned by Colonel Robert R. McCormick. McCormick served during World War I in the First Infantry Division. He also was a prominent figure in Chicago as he was also publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Goodrich 5th graders had the opportunity to explore his mansion on a guided tour and experience what it was like to be a member of the First Infantry Division. This experience connected to our integrated reading unit, where students studied the American Revolution and began looking into more recent war such as World War I and World War II. As teachers we knew the interest in history was high; however, we did not expect to to have so many impressive questions and comments being made.
Throughout both of our tours, students were consistently engaged and even amazed by the information being provided. We had several students asking questions that dazzled even the tour guides. The experience of being in the museums sparked many interesting questions such as; “Why did Colonel McCormick decide to donate his estate instead of using the money to donate to his many charities?” and “If this is the conditions that soldiers were expected to live in, then how did they manage to keep their spirits up enough to enter battle?