Cahokia Mounds!

On Friday, we took a 5th Grade Field Trip to Cahokia Mounds!  Remember how we had just had a Social Studies unit on Mental Models and the Mississippians at Cahokia?  Well we topped it off with a trip to visit the site, since it’s just a short bus ride from our school.
Probably best to tell about it with some pictures!

This must be our bus–it’s #202! That’s the same as our classroom! It seems that that number is everywhere lately. It was the room number in two of the last chapter books we read, and now on our bus. Funny.

Getting on the bus. Jack’s excited, can you tell?

We arrive at Cahokia! The weather ended up being about 50 degrees, windy and rainy. Not what we had expected earlier in the week, but we survived. At least it wasn’t 90 degrees outside–which it very well could have been! This was better, even if we were a bit chilly and wet.

See that? It’s Monk’s Mound! We learned all about it during our study, and now we were going to be able to climb to the top! Talk about history in action!

View from the top: way in the distance you can see the St. Louis Arch. Maybe. If you squint. I promise, it’s there.

Inside, at the interpretive center, there was a museum with many artifacts (or replicas of them) that we had talked about during our study. Again, how cool to see what we had read and talked about. Here are some examples of chunkey stones, which are from a game that the Cahokians played. Many chunkey stones were found in the graves of important people from their society.

How to Play Chunkey. In case you were wondering.

Model of an archeological dig

We studied this pot during our unit. It looks like an ordinary pot, but the fact that it has a face on it is important. This meant that they must have had time for art–to make things pretty, not just practical. This tied to the fact that the Cahokians must have had a surplus of food; hungry people don’t take time out for “extra” stuff like this.

Exhibit that showed all that the Cahokians farmed and grew in their city. Some of us were surprised that they were farmers. Many had the mental model that Native Americans were only hunters who ate buffalo.

Mrs. McChesney’s group shot from the top of Monk’s Mound

Thanks, Mrs. Edwards, for being a chaperone! Your group had a great time, I’m sure.

Mrs. Cseri and her group outside. They look warm and cozy, don’t they, even though it was wet and chilly out there!

Mr. Browning with his group in the museum. Again–they look like they’re having a great time learning on this trip!

Before we went back to school, we had a picnic lunch. Yep, outside. In the wind and cold. These kids have never eaten so fast!

Headed back to the nice, warm bus. 🙂

Despite the less-than-perfect weather, we had a great day!  We’re lucky to be able to get to see examples of the things we read about in our books.  This personal experience made much of it make a lot more sense, and it is solidified for us, now.  Thanks to all the adults who made this day possible for us!

We had a great day at Cahokia.  Have you ever been there?  What did you like?  What did you learn?  What other field trips have you gone on?  Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

5 thoughts on “Cahokia Mounds!

  1. Looooove Cahokia. But you knew that. Thanks for taking me with Ms V. one time. Something that surprised me (well surprised this guy Jim) my summer in Alaska – because so much more of the population is Native American up there and in the Pac NW, their history is a much larger piece of contemporary culture than it is here in Missouri. I think he was insulted that the only things I knew about the mound builders I had largely learned in elementary school. Hopefully some of your students will take their study of Mississippi Valley Native culture beyond that cold day at Cahokia and represent STL in the future!

    • That’s a really good point. I don’t know if you read the first post I did about Cahokia, but that’s the big idea behind the unit. I hope that they will remember “always and forever” that being a Native American doesn’t mean one thing; there are many mental models that we have that need to be challenged. I hope that they do the same thing you mentioned, too. Thanks for commenting, bro. 🙂

  2. I’m actually glad it was cooler. I certainly didn’t want to walk up to the top of Monk’s Mound in 90 degree weather! And yes, you could see the Arch from the top. 🙂

    • Thanks for vouching for me that the Arch really was there. And absolutely–definitely would rather do that trip in the fall, even if it’s cold, than in the summer around here.

  3. Pingback: Cahokia Mounds Trip 2013 | 20somethingkidsand1kookyteacher

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s