-Kristi Davis, Fourth Grade Teacher
This past Friday, the 4th grade loaded up the bus for the field trip to Conner Prairie. After prayer and with the sun shining down on us, we were off! I remember going to Conner Prairie when I was a 4th grader so it was really neat to now go as a 4th grade teacher. However, Conner Prairie has changed quite a bit since I went as a 4th grade student.
One of the parts that seemed to show the biggest difference and the part that stood out to me most was the Civil War area. Technology has improved over the years, which has in turn changed Conner Prairie. Technology is an integral part of the Civil War area at Conner Prairie. As the group I was with crossed over the bridge to the Civil War area, they were already setting us up to make us feel like we were really citizens in the town of Dupont, Indiana, in 1863. By that time, the war had been going on for about 2 years. This war was unlike other wars. Our country was not fighting against other countries. It was fighting against itself. The banners hanging on the bridge read like this:
“We Americans are at war with each other.”
“Hoosiers are divided over the war.”
“Confederate troops have crossed the Ohio River into Indiana.”
“Will we defend our state?”
A New Perspective
When I think of wars, I don’t usually think of them being fought where the majority of the people lived. They’re usually fought in a far off country or another state. However, during the Civil War, it seems the fighting spanned across more area. There wasn’t another country in which to fight since it was fighting itself. Part of the Civil War was fought in Indiana. The town of Dupont, Indiana was raided. Experiencing what it may have been like to live there during that time really gave me a new perspective. Conner Prairie put me in the shoes of one of those Hoosiers. We started off at Mayfield & Nichols Dry Goods Store where we experienced what it may have been like to be in the town when it was raided and much of it burned.
Next, the students had the opportunity to pretend they were soldiers during that time and participate in some military drills. We then headed to another part where we got to experience more parts of the Civil War and pretend like we were there with the Hoosiers. The first building and this building had theatrical productions that included audio, visual, and special effects to make you feel like you were really there. This is not something I experienced when I was a 4th grader. It was very cool to imagine what it was like to live during that time and have the war hit so close to home. It really made history come alive.
I think all the students had a great day going around to the different areas at Conner Prairie. So much of what my students have been studying in History class came to life at Conner Prairie—especially at the Lenape Indian camp area. God blessed us with beautiful weather. We were able to enjoy His beautiful creation and the history He so perfectly pieced together.