On a recent EXPO trip, the grade four classes visited the Lougheed House where they were immersed in the point of view of people who immigrated to Canada to settle in the West in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Students had the opportunity to explore the stories of immigrants from a variety of countries by acting out short scripts provided by the Lougheed House. Each group acted out a skit pretending be a family in another country discussing their reasons for moving to Alberta, and their hopes for their new lives. This allowed students to inquire about the hard decisions people had to make to leave their homes for a new life.
Students also considered the role of artifacts in helping to understand people’s stories. The grade fours were able to work closely with the Lougheed House historians to determine what people brought with them on their journey to the West, and why. The most favoured part of the trip was the Lougheed House tour, which exposed the students to the realities of life in the 1890s if they were among the wealthy. Many students were surprised to see the realities of life at this time, they even had a telephone!
Grade four teacher Ivy Waite states that, “we are continuing this inquiry through an immersive simulation, where students have created their own personas and are exploring what it may have been like to settle in Alberta in 1890.” Waite further explains how “the students are encountering a variety of struggles, incorporating their knowledge of simple machines in order to try and survive life on the Prairies.”
After the Lougheed House experience, it was time for a special treat. To ensure students completed their daily physical activity, the grade fours hopped back onto the bus and drove to the Olympic Plaza downtown Calgary for an afternoon of skating fun. Overall, the students had an amazing time practicing active exploration to connect their learning to authentic experiences, which thoughtfully aligns with Connect Charter Schools inquiry-based practices.