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    the past
    By melanie

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    The novel Sarah Plain and Tall is a great book to illustrate what things were like in the past. There is also a movie based on the novel (created by Hallmark) which makes a good visual. If you like centres, you could put out a very simple pattern like an apron, or place mat and have the students trace, cut out and then sew (by hand) the item. Use fabric scraps and a needle and thread. My students said overwhelmingly "I can't imagine sewing all of my clothes like that!" I also have a wheat grinder, which the kids use to grind wheat into flour. We then use it to make scones from scratch later on. We made butter to go on the scones by putting cream and salt into a jar and shaking it for a very long time. If you could find a butter churn, it would be better, but this still showed them the effort it takes to do something by hand. I also showed them how to make soap from fat and lye. (This was more of a demonstration because lye can be quite dangerous). Making soap is a hobby of mine so I enjoyed showing them. Each child then got to take home a bar in a couple weeks. They couldn't believe how it was made. For transportation, you could arrange a field trip (picnic) that they have to walk a substantial distance to arrive at. Most kids are driven everywhere and walking more than ten minutes seems like a chore. My area also has a historical site where the kids were able to see old furniture, appliances, and made their own candles by dipping a wick repeatedly into a vat of melted wax (they actually just used old crayons). You might check around to see if there is one near you. I found that having the kids do something that was once done, is a better learning tool than having them just read about it.

    Good luck!

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