By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
FORT GIBSON — Creators of this week’s displays at Fort Gibson Historic Site likely learned as much as they hope others will learn.
Fort Gibson Intermediate Elementary School fourth-graders made the exhibits out of popsicle sticks, display board, PowerPoint and weeks of research. The students presented their displays during an open house reception Monday night.
The exhibits will be on display through the end of the week at the site’s Commissary Visitor Center, 907 N. Garrison St.
“Each class has a different decade of fort history, the 1820s to 1890s,” fourth-grade teacher Lyn Boevers said. “We went from when the fort was first founded in 1824 through the Civil War era.”
Boevers said the yearlong project was prompted by a $65,000 grant from the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust. The grant funded interactive digital chalkboards, webcams and other technology.
“The kids used iPads for online research,” Boevers said, adding that students also prepared digital slide shows.
“I hope the students learned research skills as well as history,” she said.
Fourth-grader Ashlynn Cox said she and two other classmates worked on a display about life at the fort. She said she spent a “couple of days” researching her subject and about a week helping with the display.
“There were a lot of differences from today and then,” Ashlynn said. “You couldn’t go to the store. The hair styles were different. They had buns and braids.”
Fourth-grader Gerald Fairchild said he learned about different uniforms and “what they used to carry guns in.”
“I found out what kind of guns they had,” he said.
Correy Twilley, a historic interpreter at the site, said he appreciated the teachers who “brought students out on many field trips.”
Historic site director David Fowler said he recently judged high school exhibits in a History Day competition.
“These exhibits are every bit as good as those exhibits are,” Fowler said.
Intermediate Elementary School teacher Kelly Cook said she hopes next year’s fourth-graders will expand their research project. Cook said the fourth-grade social studies curriculum focuses on different regions of the United States.
“We’re hoping to share about the southeastern region with students in other states,” she said.
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.