In a matter of hours, fifth grade students at Marengo Elementary School in South Pasadena took “A Walk Through the American Revolution.”
During a pair of morning and afternoon presentations last week, 10 year olds reenacted scenes from the historical colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783.
As part of the 2 ½ – hour sessions, the kids covered plenty, reliving how the American Patriots in the 13 Colonies won independence from Great Britain, becoming the United States of America.
They defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War in alliance with France and others.
While the task took on a serious tone at times, the students giggled and laughed and, well, had fun. That’s the way Marengo teachers wanted it.
In preparation, students were asked to memorize parts of the Revolution during a series of classroom assignments before Mia Grimes, a moderator with California Weekly Explorer based in Tustin, California, walked them through the time period from start to finish. Prior to the interactive program, students were introduced to six weeks of intensive study in history and vocabulary.
What they got out of the experience was immense, insists Grimes, noting, “They learned language skills, arts, social studies and remembered history, which is a big part of it.”
Presenters like Grimes travel throughout California to participating schools to give the students a firsthand look at the American Revolution.
Grimes keeps it light and entertaining, knowing there’s an adult audience of mostly moms, dads and grandparents looking on, as she throws out one line zingers, prompting laughter throughout the school’s auditorium.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Grimes, who comes to California Weekly Explorer with experience in theatre and education as a former teacher. “So, I put it all together.”
During the interactive program, three teams – the Red Coats, White Tories and Blue Rebels – competed and were awarded points after reciting lines from famous American Revolution figures, including George Washington, Betsy Ross, John Adams and more, along with key facts from the time period.
Extra points were issued to students offering more than the usual theatrics, nailing the history aspect and for dressing in costume.
During the production, the fifth graders reenacted scenes from the American Revolution, the Battle of Lexington, the Boston Tea Party, and the Declaration of Independence and the battles of Lexington, Trenton and Valley Forge, and Yorktown.
Along with the Revolutionary War flags, there was a map of the 13 original colonies, a gold Liberty Bell, muskets and other items from the time period, all designed to help the students “Walk Through the American Revolution.”
The presentation was designed to allow students an opportunity to actively participate in a lively retelling of the country’s beginning, using games, music, and storytelling, history to make it happen.
“They get to learn about history like never before,” explained Marengo fifth grade teacher Ron Aschieris, “and it’s a little more meaningful when it’s acted out. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for the students when they’re center stage.”