Waterbound is a seventh grade interdisciplinary program at Welsh Valley Middle School that puts a unique spin on the traditional curriculum. While academically rigorous, the activities are designed to appeal to all types of learning styles as students experience first person history, integration of technology, thematic events, the natural world, and much more. Each learning unit, led by teachers Marybeth Raidy and John V’Soske, culminates in a “special day” in which students step directly in to the roles and lives of the related characters and/or time period.
As Waterbound wrapped up their unit on the Colonial Era, students were transported back in time over the course of two days for a pair of fun-filled and educational activities: a “Colonial Mid-Day” event held at the Harriton House and “Colonial Day Williamsburg” experience in the Saunder’s Woods.
Harriton House is a historic property in Lower Merion Township that played host to Presidents, signers of the Declaration of Independence, and was also the home of Charles Thompson, the Secretary of the Second Continental Congress. Dressed in traditional colonial garb, students enjoyed a tour of Harriton House, crafted a colonial “wizzer” toy from wood using a hand drill and saw, and embroidered an authentic colonial design on a pocket or pouch.
A few weeks later, the Waterbound students staged their own version of Williamsburg complete with colonial costumes and foods at Saunder’s Woods – a 25-acre natural oasis for wildlife and local residents in the heart of the Main Line. In preparation for the event students researched crafts, foods, trades, and costumes of the time. Throughout the day, students rotated through stations run by their classmates based on their research, which included: cooking corn pudding and pumpkin pudding, making applesauce, sampling homemade preserves on biscuits, playing traditional colonial and tavern games, printing a message using wood block stamps and walnut ink, weaving corda with a lucet, and attending class in a colonial schoolhouse. Entertainment was provided by many of Waterbound’s own musicians playing pieces authentic to the time period. A typical colonial tavern lunch of chicken potpie, puddings, buttermilk biscuits and jam, and homemade applesauce was served and enjoyed by all. Students baked items for a huge dessert table consisting of cookies all made from colonial recipes.
The day was a unique experience for all involved. The students learned valuable information about colonial times, and more importantly, realized how difficult colonial life must have been.
For more information about Waterbound, click here. To view a slideshow of images from Waterbound’s Colonial Days, click on the image in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.