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Living History in Fifth Grade

This school year started off with a bang in fifth grade Social Studies.  North American history will be the focus this year.  Fifth grade students will cover the Age of Exploration of the New World through Reconstruction after the Civil War. Of course, there is no better way to learn about history then to become part of it!

Students in the fifth grade classrooms recently participated in a role-playing simulation where they became explorers in the year 1495. Shortly after Christopher Columbus’ original journey, students either sailed for the king and queen of Spain or the king of Portugal. Experiencing what life was truly like as an early explorer, the “sailors” were “met” with many obstacles, including unreliable maps and charts, diseases brought on by spoiled food on board the ship, and rough seas resulting in damage of their ship.

When asked about his favorite part, Jihwan Park from Ms. Gaio’s class replied, “My favorite part was we got to learn a lot about history and we figured out how hard it was for the explorers to go to the New World and find all the new land.” Classmate Christopher Norris had a different take on things. “My favorite part was seeing how (my shipmate) got a disease and when he had to make a health check, seeing if he would live or die.” Not to worry, though; his shipmate “pulled through” by eating fruits and vegetables found in the new land!  Others had a difficult time navigating around a reef not far offshore. “We almost sank our ship on a reef,” said Ashely Valente, also from Ms. Gaio’s class. “We thought we weren’t going to live!”

An experience they will never forget, students saw first-hand how treacherous life could be at the dawn of the New World’s exploration. As the fifth graders continue the journey through American history, students will have additional role playing experiences in the months ahead.  Students will get the opportunity to live the life of a colonist during the fight for independence from the British as well as to become part of the Civil War.

Written by: Angela Gaio
Posted: Sep 16, 2015 by Blair Austin

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