Friday, March 13, 2009

The Sunflower State

Today was our State Report day at co-op. When I asked Hannah which state she wanted to study, she replied, "I want a green one."

"What?" I asked, confused.

So she went and got the globe, pointed to a green state, and said, "I want this one!" And the lucky winner was . . . Kansas. My stomach sank. Other than the fact that Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz was quite fond of it, I knew absolutely nothing about this state.

After a few days of research, we decided to divide our project into four different parts: History Highlight, Things To Do, State Facts, and Famous Figure.

Our "History Highlight" was the Dust Bowl. We found some amazing pictures on the internet to include on our project board, and we also included some excerpts from Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust. Hannah set up her little table and put some of her kitchen dishes face down on it. She explained to her friends that they used to have to set their table like this so they wouldn't get dust in their cups or on their plates. She also told them that when they picked the dishes up to turn them over so they could eat, they could see the clean marks where their dishes had been setting compared with the rest of the table which had a layer of dust covering it.

We came up with three attractions for our "Things To Do" section. The one we were most excited about was Old Cowtown Museum, which is a living museum located off the Chisholm Trail. It is designed to let people experience life on the Frontier in the late 1800's. You can ride a stagecoach, watch a blacksmith fashion a horseshoe, or even to go the land office and stake your claim! We also found out about Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, which allows people to experience life before the settlers arrived; this is life the way Native Americans knew it. Our final tourist attraction was the capitol building. Hannah talked briefly about each of these attractions and showed her friends the pictures we had printed.

Our "Famous Figure" for Kansas was Amelia Earhart. We used two different colors of yarn to mark our globe with her two most famous flights: the one across the Atlantic Ocean and the one she attempted to make around the world. We took the globe with us so Hannah could show her friends the flight paths while she told them about her story.

And finally, we did the typical "State Facts." I was really reluctant to even include these because I feel like, for the most part, it's useless information and . . . well . . . boring. However, when we learned that the state song was Home on the Range, I said, "Hey, every kid knows that song! That's kind of cool!" Then we learned that the state flower is the sunflower and Kansas' nickname is The Sunflower State. I thought, "C'mon! Who doesn't love a cheery sunflower?!" And finally, I learned that the only reason the Western Meadowlark is the state bird is because school children got to vote for the bird that would represent Kansas, and that's what they chose. Suddenly state facts seemed a little less boring.

For the presentation, Hannah had a gigantic sunflower and a packet of sunflower seeds for everyone, and she had her CD player and a CD with Home on the Range that she played while all the kids sang together. (I'll be the first to admit that the other state facts were boring, so they got included on the poster but didn't get any lip service!)

Here is a picture of her standing next to her display:

This project was a tremendous amount of work (much more work than our China report last month), but we all learned tons of new information that we found really interesting! Plus, we have our next vacation planned. Look out, Old Cowtown Museum, here we come!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

The board looks great!!! You do a great job, Jennifer!