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CALUMET — More than 500 fourth graders from across the Keweenaw Peninsula are attending the 4th annual “Copper TRACES” over the next two days. Copper TRACES is a full-day field trip geared towards teaching 4th graders: Technology, Research, Art and Music, Community, Environment, and Service.
The Keweenaw National Historical Park has partnered with 22 community organizations and more than 60 volunteers to put on this three day event. Thanks to a grant from the National Park Foundation, the day full of activities and lunch is completely free to schools.
Activities begin right away in the morning and every half an hour students switch between stations.
“For example, dancing around a maypole to learn about midsummer celebration with Finnish heritage. Another one is learning how to play guntalas the musical instruments. We also have Keweenaw Time Traveler here so their kind of looking at photographs and maps and learning about the downtown Calumet area. We also have archaeology and learning how to…engineering with bridge building,” explains Kathleen Harter, Program Director for Interpretation and Education at the Keweenaw National Historical Park.
With hundreds of students participating each day, the goal is to really get students to learn history hands on.
“First we’re teaching them how to read the maps and then learn, ‘what can we learn from these maps’, ‘what can we see from the changes of these maps from what was then to today’,” says Nicholas Laemmrich, Volunteer with Keweenaw Time Traveler.
Harter adds, “This is such a great example of taking what they learned in the classroom and seeing it real life. I mean, you get to walk through historic downtown and you get to learn about and see things that you’ve been studying in the textbook but now it’s in person.”
Copper TRACES is part of the Every Kid in a Park program. This national program provides fee-free entry for all 4th graders (including home-schooled and free-choice learners 10 years of age) and up to three adults to National Park Service sites and other public lands. The Every Kid in a Park pass is good for one year.
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Organizations assisting with stations today include, but are not limited to:
- Calumet Theatre
- Carnegie Museum
- Copper Range Historical Museum
- Finnish American Heritage Center
- Keweenaw County Historical Society
- Keweenaw Heritage Center
- Michigan Tech Archives
- Quincy Mine Tours