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Project connects local, natural history lessons

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 8:44 p.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
A grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation to the Sycamore History Museum and University of Illinois DeKalb County Extension will help fund a program that shows local fourth graders the connections between local and natural history, with hands-on visits to historic sites.

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Community Foundation awarded more than $4,000 to the Sycamore History Museum’s new educational program, “A Tale of Two Histories.” The project involves telling cultural history and natural history of the community from the 1830s through 1890s using authentic places to tell the story. 

The Sycamore History Museum, along with the University of Illinois Extension and DeKalb County Community Foundation, are working together to create a place-based educational experience for local fourth graders. The project will include a visit to the community foundation to learn about the impact of the railroad and depot on the community. Then, the students will “move back time” with a visit the Hoppe Heritage Farm Forest Preserve and the 1835 Miller cabin. Students will then apply the knowledge they learned during this half-day field trip in a mapping activity that involves Global Information System (GIS) technology. This project combines a compelling story that reveals in interconnectedness of cultural and natural history.

“We are very excited to start this project. Teachers are searching for ways to incorporate critical thinking skills that meet the objectives in the new Core Curriculum,” history museum executive director Michelle Donahoe said. “This new educational program will do that in an interdisciplinary nature and with new technology. This class will be open to 10 schools in the fall of 2014. Working with Peggy Doty from the U of I Extension Office and me, students and teachers will be able to make unique connections to the past. We are very grateful to the Community Foundation. Their support will allow the creation of a new and creative program that will engage many of our local students.”

For more information about the project, call 815-895-5762 or email michelle@sycamorehistory.org.

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