Magazine article Curriculum Review

Hike Simulates Old West

Magazine article Curriculum Review

Hike Simulates Old West

Article excerpt

Grease the wheels for a unit about Conestogas and the 19th century settlers who populated the American West by taking your class on a Wagon Walk. For the past six years, Rick Lidster has taken his students from Rincon Middle School in Escondido, California, on a seven-mile hike through history. Along the way, the 8th graders stopped for demonstrations ranging from a blacksmith shoeing horses and a weaver working a spinning wheel to a simulated holdup by legendary robber Jesse James--who got the drop on the young settlers with a bunch of water balloons. Lidster got an assist this past spring from 50-plus fellow teachers and parents.

Not every student "survived" the journey. Depending on which activity cards they drew as the day progressed, they might find out that their characters died of starvation, or from swallowing contaminated water. Classmates had to stop and dig graves for their fallen comrades. …

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