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Post-Visit Activities

Classroom Visit Students

Sauder Village in Your Classroom

Post-Visit Activities. Historic Village

The following is a suggested list of several activities to do with the students following your trip to the Village. This is just a short list, but we hope it will serve as inspiration for other projects to incorporate the Historic Sauder Village tour into a larger learning experience.

1. Play a game of "Whatsit."

The teacher brings in several items that were quite common at one time in an early 20th century farm home and may have been used each day by a member of the house. Students try to guess what the item was used for. Items can include stereoscope, buttonhook, stocking dryer, razor strop, carpenter's plane, curling iron and the like. Items such as these can readily be found in local antique stores, flea markets, garage sales and attics. If the actual item cannot be found, pictures taken from books, blown up and mounted, will work.

The next step could be for each child to select a contemporary object and describe how the job it accomplishes now would have been done in the 1800s. Or, students could bring in their own "whatsit" to class and have each student guess its use.

2. Quilt Clues

At Sauder Village, you will see many examples of quilts and could see some of our volunteers at work quilting. Quilts were important not only for the warmth they provided but they often served as a snapshot of the lives of the owners and the makers, and as such are a wonderful record of history. Wedding quilts were made for a new bride by her female relatives and had very distinct patterns. A friendship quilt could be made for any special occasion with each panel specially created for the recipient by his or her friends. A scrap or crazy quilt had no distinct pattern but used as many different fabrics and scraps from clothing from the family as possible cut in irregular shapes. Amish quilts are noted for their solid fabrics rather than calicos and prints.

Bring in a quilt or quilt block and have the students try to discover clues to the owners and makers of the quilt. Examine the condition (frays, rips, repairs, fading). What can you tell about the age of the quilt? What type of quilt is it and can you tell if it was made for a special occasion or a particular person? What do the colors and prints tell about the quilter?

Quilts are still a part of modern life. The National ​AIDS Quilt is one example of how quilts continue to record history. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson, Eight Hands Round by Ann Whitford Paul and The Quilt Story by Tony Johnson and Tomie De Paola are just a few of the many excellent books with a quilt theme available for children.

3. One-Room School for a Day

Set up your class as a one-room school for the day. The class can be divided into smaller classes each learning a different lesson. Teachers and children dress in "old-fashioned" clothes. Lunches can be brought in bags or pails. The teacher can do old-fashioned games such as "Blind Man's Bluff," "Tag," "I Spy," "Who's Got the Button," and the like. Students can also try a spelldown or geography-bee. The day could also include a history lesson from the period, music with old-fashioned songs, and recitations. Teachers could also bring in slates and slate pencils to use or wooden pencils and yellow tablets for the children to share. Reproductions of the early McGuffy Readers can be used for textbooks. Each child could also make a copybook, like the following, to write their lessons in.

TO MAKE A COPYBOOK: Take several sheets of rough drawing paper and fold in half lengthwise. Take a sheet of heavier colored paper and fold around outside for cover. Clip in place using two clip clothespins. Using a large eyed needle and heavy thread or yarn, sew the cover to the paper along the crease. Hint: Outdated sample books of wallpaper are an excellent source for covers.

4. Interviews.

Have each child interview an older person they may know to find out what life was like when that person was growing up. Have the children compare what they were told with the way their lives are today. Each child could interview two people from two generations and see how much life has changed just in the last 50 years.

Have the students compare these interviews with what they learned about life during the era of our Village to see how things are the same and how they are different.

5. Create a batch of Aunt Vicky's Crock-Pot, Classroom Apple Butter, a modern version of a traditional rural favorite:

2 c. cider

10 c. unsweetened applesauce ***

3 c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. allspice

Reduce cider to 1 cup by boiling it. Combine and stir all ingredients in Crock-Pot and cook uncovered 6 to 8 hours on high setting. Students need to take turns stirring so that the apple butter doesn't burn.

The amount of moisture in the applesauce determines when the apple butter will be done. To tell when it is finished, spoon some on a saucer. If juice runs out, it is not done.

*** To make the applesauce: Macintosh apples and apple juice work best. You may need (6) 3 lb. bags of apples to make 10 cups of sauce. The day before you plan on making the apple butter, cook the sliced and cored apples in some apple juice in a Crock-Pot until soft and put through a sieve.

The fresh apple butter is best on homemade bread.

6. Read more about it!

There are many good books on pioneer life geared for all ages of children. First-person diaries and letters are excellent sources for older students. Libraries will often carry books of local history or local family histories. Younger children will enjoy more story-like books including the "Little House" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Although these books depict pioneer life on the western frontier, many of the same situations occurred in the lives of our own Black Swamp pioneers.

Also of interest is "Erie Sauder and His Village" and "Faith Hope and Love, These Three at Work in Paraguay," both by Cecily Rohrs and both available in the Sauder Village Gift Shops. They tell the story of our village founder, Erie and give a good overview of the history and workings of our historic village.