Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Challenger K-8 students learn about life in colonial times


Three boys sprawled on the floor in Margie Yurtinis' kindergarten classroom around a hula hoop that contained the marbles with which they were playing.

Elsewhere, other children were playing checkers, hopscotch, ninepin and dominoes. Still others were trying their hands at improvised cross-stitch, done with markers and graph paper. After a bit, all of the children rotated so each could try everything.

The Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics kindergarteners looked more like children from another era, with their tricorn hats, mop caps, long dresses and aprons. But these modern children were just trying to get a feel for what life was like 250 years ago.

This exercise was the culmination of a integrated unit on colonial America. This particular day was the children's chance to play old-time games and taste recipes from long ago, including creamy chicken and biscuits, peanut soup and shrub, a dessert drink.

The unit incorporated seven disciplines.

For social studies, the children were introduced to the founding fathers and compared modern life to life long ago. The children made soap and candles and wrote with quills.

For language arts, they wrote books, learned vocabulary and read books about colonial times. They sang Yankee Doodle, George Washington and This Land Is Your Land.

"They actually wrote with a quill and paint, hopefully so they could understand more about here and now," Yurtinis said.

Science was incorporated into the making of soap and candles and the cooking. They learned about fire safety.

Yurtinis included economics. She talked with the children about how a sheep's coat goes from the animal to cloth and how cotton from the plant through spinning, weaving and sewing to clothes.

Math was part of the games and crafts. They may not have noticed it, but the children were adding, subtracting, graphing, measuring and analyzing data while they played and cooked.

For physical education, both fine and gross motor skills were practiced while the children hopped in hopscotch, manipulated Jacob's ladder, flipped marbles and scooped up jacks.

The children said they learned a lot.

John Brooks, 6, said he learned that "George Washington won the Revolutionary War. I've been through the battlefield," he said. "Thomas Jefferson got the name Monticello from Italy. I didn't know that."

Nina Swiatek, 5, found out something else about our first president.

"George Washington lost all his teeth," she said.

Lauren Anderson, 6, mentioned yet another presidential fact: "George Washington had to wear dresses until he was 6," she said.

Gianni Labdar, 6, seemed more interested in the country's third president.

"Thomas Jefferson invented the dumbwaiter," he said.

Madison Barrett, 6, was impressed by another invention.

"Thomas Jefferson invented the first toilet in the house," she said.

From Jackson Hoyt, 6: "Ben Franklin proved that lightning is electricity."

Abigail Keister, 6, who was also interested in the first indoor toilet, picked up another tidbit about Franklin.

"Benjamin Franklin made the first glasses," she said.

"They used to call them spectacles," Gianni reminded her.

The parents volunteering during the unit's activities admitted learning some new stuff themselves.

"I didn't know what tricorn hats were . . . (and) all that food is new to me," said Kelly Hoyt, Jackson's mother. "And I didn't know there was ninepin bowling."

Dana Juan, whose son, Aden Juan, 6, is in the class, said she learned a thing or two as well, and commented on Yurtinis' efforts.

"The children learn so much," she said.

Challenger K-8 students learn about life in colonial times 03/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 6:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa


    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.