On Tuesday, April 7, our Fourth Grade class visited the State House in Concord. Students have been studying the Civil War and the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, so the visit was particularly timely. The first stop was the Hall of Flags, and was especially memorable for students as they looked at the actual flags carried into battle during the Civil War and noted the tears, bullet holes and cannon holes. Students were amazed to see the shreds of fabric hanging from the poles of the 6th and 7th Regiments- realizing “that very flag had gone to battle.”
Students then were invited to sit in the House of Representatives’ Chamber (the House and Senate were not in session) and “vote” just like our representatives do on a fictitious bill presented by the tour guide “Pip.” Students were encouraged to stand and speak in favor or against a bill that would extend the school day by an hour in order to have Gym class everyday. Mrs. Hauck argued FOR the change, and several students argued AGAINST the proposal. It was a great experience for students to see what happens to a bill and how it is argued there.
The next stop was the Senate Chamber where students sat in the chairs of our state senators and learned all about how they vote on bills that arrive there. They were treated to a song by “The singing Senator” who taught the students a song about why he wanted to be a State Senator. The students sang along to the chorus to the song.
The tour of the State House concluded back in the Hall of Flags after the students viewed a very large painting of the Battle at Gettysburg. It was interesting to learn that this beautiful painting had been stored in a barn for years until it was cleaned and given to the State for display in the State House.
After having lunch in White Park, students went to the New Hampshire Historical Society where they were able to look at the original gold-leaf covered wooden eagle that was once atop the gold leafed dome of the State House. The original statue had begun to deteriorate and was switched out for a metal bird- also covered in gold leaf. Students learned why the original bird faced left and why the new bird faced to the right – ask one of them to tell you the story!
The last activity at the Historical Society involved looking at photographs from 100-125 years ago and a modern photograph of the same location years later. Students were encouraged to complete a VEN diagram of the similarities and differences between the photographs. It was a great field trip!