NEW PORT RICHEY
Making a candle is a tedious endeavor — one that takes patience and attention to the simple, repeated task of dipping a white, braided wick into a pot of hot wax, then a pitcher of cool water. Over time the wax builds up, and in the end comes your prize: a little light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
Maybe it helps that you learn something, too.
That was the point for some third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Bishop Larkin Catholic School, who for the past six weeks have been delving into a little U.S. history, particularly that of the 13 original colonies. No doubt textbooks offered an informative look at the people who forged a new life in a new world all that time ago.
But as any good teacher knows, it's not all about the books. Hands-on activities tend to stick with students.
That was the thought for Natalie DeMarco, Lorrin Baldwin and Paula Jones, who teach third, fourth and fifth grade, respectively. They wanted their students to get an inkling of what it was like to live in a world with no modern conveniences — to learn how resourceful people had to be.
"We wanted them to realize that there was no Publix, no Walmart to buy things from back then," Jones said.
So for a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon, students gathered in their classrooms to take turns making candles, creamy butter and corn husk dolls.
Tedious? Maybe, but it was something else, too.
"It's fun," said 9-year-old Peggy Cosgrove, as she dipped her candle wick for the umpteenth time. "And I just like to know how these things are made."