Mettawee Third Graders Get a Taste of What is Was Like to Be a 17th Century Immigrant
Third graders at Mettawee Community School, teachers Jennifer Leach and Mark Rampone, and parent volunteers recently spent the day aboard ship in a lesson meant to replicate the 1682 crossing of The Welcome when William Penn led a group of immigrants to Pennsylvania to start a new colony.
With sails created by students and faculty hanging from the ceiling, visitors to The Welcome saw participants dressed as 17th century colonists, and got to create and take part in traditional crafts and games that would have occupied children and passengers aboard the ship during its two- to six-month journey.
“They learned how to tie boat knots and how to make hand-string figures and play games like Cat’s Cradle,” said Leach, whose classroom hosted the ‘ship.’ “They also created and learned to play Jack Straws (the present-day Pick Up Sticks), as well as learned to play marbles using homemade clay marbles they had made prior to our trip. All learned to hand sew, and this led to making their own ditty bags.” Leach said “It was a full-day immersion project where the students walked into school as a new person with a colonial persona that he or she had created. They were packed and ready for our journey. They had to sign a ship’s manifest as their characters, while standing on the docks in Deal, England, prior to setting sail. We did not get off the ship all day. All of the stations were on board; recess was spent on board doing typical physical activities or pencil sketching, lunch was on board; we even survived a big storm while on board! From the masts and sails set up, to the language we were using, to the snacks and food (like hardtack and dehydrated fruit), we tried to make our study of history come alive for the students.” Students even huddled under desks to recreate the feeling of being enclosed in a small space such as the sailors would have experienced during the ocean crossing. Some of the shipboard activities were demonstrated by the students at the MCS Open House on Thursday, January 25.