Middle school goes medieval

GENOA – The teachers at Genoa-Kingston Middle School usually don’t condone a room full of shouting students.

But loud cheers echoed throughout the school gym Thursday as about 150 sixth graders cheered on their classmates in a series of medieval-themed competitions.

“We really get into this,” sixth-grade teacher Ruth Olle shouted over the students’ chants.

The activities were part of the school’s annual medieval fair, a celebration after a month of studying the culture and history of the Middle Ages in social studies classes. The students were divided into six kingdoms – with names such as Purple Pegasus, Dark Overlords and Medieval Maniacs – and faced off in a tournament. Events included competitions representative of the era, such as log toss, three-legged races, a tug-of-war, a jester relay and a dress-up relay.

Social studies teacher Clayton Johnsen said the medieval fair is part of an interdisciplinary unit that teaches the students more than what they can learn in a textbook.

The children channeled their creativity by making a banner for their respective kingdoms and building catapults in math class. The friendly competitions teach the students teamwork and sportsmanship, Johnsen said.

Many students, including Rachel Younker, were confident their kingdoms would emerge victorious in Thursday’s tournament.

“I think we have a really good team,” Younker said. “We’re all athletic and try hard at everything we do.”

The winning class received bragging rights and a small traveling trophy.

“Right now, it’s in [Mrs. Olle’s] room,” said Johnsen. “So we’re all trying to get it back.”