Students travel back in time-Swedish American Museum

3rd grade students are studying the history of Chicago and specifically the Great Chicago Fire. To give students perspective on the fire and how different Chicago was in 1870s we did some research on the early formation of the city. Students read that the population boomed in the mid-1800s due to immigration. To our 8 and 9 year olds immigration is a brand new idea and confusing, so we planned a trip to the Swedish American Museum where students could actually travel back in time in their Children’s Museum. Students got passports, boarded a ship, left their small cottage in Sweden and traveled to their uncle’s log home in America. This dramatic play allowed students to put what they’ve been reading about into context and illuminate their understanding of the past. Although not a full study of immigration this experience allowed our students to understand the tough decision and extreme journey immigrants took to live in America. This knowledge will come into play when we discuss the Irish immigrant family, the O’Leary’s and the part they played in The Great Chicago Fire.