On Tuesday Fort Hays State University hosted the Ben Franklin Papers event, where a Fort Hays Elementary Education class was able to interact with fifth graders from several different public schools as they took a field trip to Forsyth Library. They viewed two authentic documents drafted by Ben Franklin. The documents were donated by Fort Hays alumnus Cecil Currey.
These historic documents are showcased in Forsyth Library once a year, and Fort Hays allowed two different sections of fifth graders to learn more about Ben Franklin’s life and his contributions to society, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
A social studies methods class worked on the projects that served as different stations for the students to interact in, some of which included information about Ben Franklin’s personal life and numerous inventions. Students from any major could volunteer as tour guides.
To begin the tour, Ben Franklin greeted the students in the McMindes Hall lobby and gave an overview speech about his life and inventions. Students and guides then made their way to Forsyth Library to view the two documents and participate in different stations set up to aid in the learning of Ben Franklin’s life.
“They were intrigued by it because they like learning about social studies and the history of the United States,” freshman guide Rachel Linch said. “I got to see them get excited about learning and really just have fun with something that may seem silly to a college kid, but their age of kids have fun learning about those types of things, and all in all if they had fun learning, it was a good day.”
Nine learning stations were available to the children, some of which included a Jeopardy-type game station, a quiz station, a press-printing station where visitors could write their names, a Ben Franklin facts station and an odometer station, one of Ben Franklin’s most famous inventions. Students had the opportunity to test both an odometer and a pedometer to see which device was more accurate.
“I think the kids enjoyed it because they got to learn about our history – more about it than just reading about it in a textbook,” freshman guide Bethany Hargues said. “I just enjoyed being able to show them around.”