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Students at Trinity Lutheran participate in Pioneer Day
Children in prekindergarten through eighth grade took part in the event.
Ten students frantically spin shallow pans and paw though the sediment pebbles, looking for gold.
"Dude, I got some nice pieces," says seventh-grader Grant Frye.
He is participating in Trinity Lutheran's Pioneer Day exhibit, a traveling program run by Tin Cup.
Besides panning for gold, students washed their clothes with a scrub board, rolled dough, hand-spun yarn and practiced rudimentary shaving. The school's PTO sponsored the event.
"It's better than I thought it would be," said David Huey, a seventh-grader.
Students in prekindergarten through eighth grade participated. Principal Diane Maurer was worried the eighth-graders would feel "they were too cool for their britches" to participate, but across the board students expressed approval of the event.
As Cassidy Brown beaded jewelry she contemplated what it would be like to have lived in the 1800s. "There weren't as good of living conditions, and there wasn't as much technology. It's too much work," she said.
Students gasped as presenter Tammy Hess told students how the pioneers kept children's colds from developing into pneumonia by placing a semiheated 8-pound iron on their chest.
They also learned that a washing machine would have cost $3.30 when it was new. Half of the items students touched were artifacts, not replicas. Students will learn more about the pioneers later in the year as part of their curriculum. Trinity Lutheran is adopting new social studies books this year, so Maurer said students will be completing social studies investigations all this year.
"When we do discuss pioneers, the children will have this to draw on. It is always great when they have something hands-on they can touch and not just see," history teacher Melanie Martens said.
Later that day, students and parents returned for a chili dinner and the completion of pioneer activities together.
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