Having finally completed leveling, documenting, and labeling the classroom library, this week finds me in between projects. What would life be like without a project? I don’t know because it’s never been tested!
The students are on their way now using their reading bag bookmarks as a guideline for finding just right books in the library. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks as the book exchanges are more independent.
One of our activities this week was a trip to the Tsongas Industrial History Center in the Boott Mills. We are so fortunate to have this terrific resource in our community! The docents and Park Rangers are both knowlegeable and entertaining and students learn much about the Industrial Revolution as well as the history of Lowell. The Boott Mill is also open to the public as park of the Lowell National Historic Parks.
This trip was as outstanding as the others I’ve been on with my
Third Graders. The program we participated in – Change in the Making – enabled students to learn about how this area of Massachusetts changed from farmlands to factories over a period of about 100 years. The black and white photograph is an image of one of the looms outside of the weave room. Only a few looms inside the room were running on the day we visited, but the clatter was nearly unbearable. Imagine having to work in such an environment for 10 to 12 hours each day.
One of the most (un)popular parts of the tour was the climb to the fifth floor activity rooms using the spiraling staircase that the Mill Girls would use. As our guide pointed out, the Mill Girls made several trips up and down the stairs throughout the day.
In addition to the climbing, students used a cotton gin to remove seeds from the cotton — and also attempted to invent a tool that would do the same. They observed the living conditions at the Boarding Houses, and learned how Mill workers were recruited to leave farm and family to come to Lowell.
It is always amazing how much the students learn on this trip. It’s a perfect blend of information sharing and hands-on learning and generally ends up being the event students write about when they reflect on the school year.
No matter if you travel to Lowell with students in tow or on your own, visiting the Mills and learning about the history of Lowell is highly recommended.