Tualatin Elementary 4th-graders become part of a ‘living history’

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Tualatin History Day- June 6, 2023 (Formerly known as ‘Pioneer Day’) 

The fourth-grade students from Tualatin Elementary School had an opportunity to become part of a “living history” as the Tualatin Heritage Center re-enacted what life was like during the pioneer days of the 1800s. This was the 14th year that the Tualatin Historical Society allowed children to experience how settlers survived without the internet and electricity. This end-of-the-year event involved more than 20 volunteers from the Tualatin community and was coordinated by retired Educator Mary Rennebohm. 

Teachers prepare for this popular field trip by organizing students into family groups as they study the hardships real pioneers encountered in the mid-1800s as they headed west on the Oregon Trail. Students from Tualatin Elementary School had their students pull their covered wagons as they hiked from their school to the Tualatin Heritage Center on June 6, 2023.

Family groups rotated through the following Learning Stations that were staffed by seasoned Historical Society members, as well as volunteers from the Tualatin community.

  • Artifacts
  • One-Room School House
  • Native Plants & Native People
  • Laundry & Sewing
  • Toys & Games
  • Ice Age

There was a station for “Butter Churning” where the students had the opportunity to churn butter and sample the results on hard crackers. Students churned the butter themselves by shaking cream in mason jars on their journey to the Heritage Center.

The students also learned about the massive Ice Age Floods, which impacted the terrain and topography of Tualatin today.

In the one-room School House, students learned the importance of following rules while sitting on wooden benches while using personal slate boards and chalk to practice arithmetic and cursive handwriting. Students were reminded of the value of cleanliness, good manners, and respect.

Students also enjoyed guessing how a wide variety of artifacts and antiques were used around pioneer homes and farms back in the pioneer days.

Another novel experience for the students was the opportunity to sew on a button, as well as using a traditional washboard and wringer to do their laundry. One of the students said: “I want my Dad to make me a wringer so I can do the laundry like this at home.” 

Midway through the day, students hiked to the Tualatin Community Park, where they ate sack lunches and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day.

This year’s History Day was fortunate to have dry, sunny weather, and we look forward to welcoming  Byrom and Bridgeport Elementary Schools to this engaging event in the future.