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Local Cemeteries Prove to be Learning Grounds

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Keywords: Flip Video,
Subject(s): History, Chemistry, Math, Science, Grammar, Spelling, Earth Science, Writing, Special Needs, Life Science, Social Skills
Grades 6 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: YESS Program, Salt Lake City, UT
Planned By: Robert Osborne
Original Author: Robert Osborne, Salt Lake City
Mr. Osborne, fellow teachers and the O & A staff are exploring local cemeteries with their students and teaching them about the educational value of these burial grounds. One main purpose of using a flip camera during these field trips would be to promote the use of technology and to preserve data for future classroom study while encouraging the unique scientific and historical significance of the people at rest and their monuments.

Nearly every community has an old cemetery of historic and educational value. A journey and pictorial study of it can reveal much about the lives of people and their past, the architecture of various time periods, the science and history behind a variety of monuments. Once there, students can use the flip cameras to record and enjoy the wonderful artwork and structural design of the mausoleums and headstones.

Furthermore, the camera can be used to film student presentations and encourage creative work when returning to the classroom. Teachers can also record themselves and post their lessons for future use in the living centers to help students with their homework and after school curriculum. The camera can also be great for recording and documenting future planned field trips.

Under the guidance of their teachers, students would be required to walk through and film, take photographs of the cemeteries and write down in their notebooks some of the early burial dates. Information can come from as far back as the Civil War up through present day. Epitaphs (quotes and descriptions about the deceased) are also recorded. Furthermore, in each cemetery students look for and interpret symbols on the tombstones. These include but are not limited to The Eastern Star, tree trunks, weeping willow trees', shells and the like. Teachers work in collaboration with students to help infer the meaning of each emblem. Use of the flip camera during the cemetery field trip would greatly enhance the lesson by allowing students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to use flip-cameras learn new and exciting things that relate to science and history.

From a scientific standpoint, the effects of weathering on a variety of headstones and monuments are also observed and could be recorded with the camera. Research includes the types of rock, effects of pollution and acid rain on the different types of stones. Students also take a close look at damage to certain stones; noting how they were damaged and if repaired how? Photographs on tombstones started about 100 years ago and could now be studied in depth back inat school. Students are asked why the custom began than; they record other information and are asked to write their own epitaph for that person. Use of a flip camera would bring technology to the cemetery, the classroom and allow further detailed studies of data, rocks, minerals, history and expand classroom activities.

The cemetery is a quiet place; much contemplation can take place there. Teachers and staff at O & A feel that students can learn the value of science, philosophy and history within the quiet boundaries of these sacred grounds. It is indeed a hands-on learning experience second to none. Add a flip camera to the mix and learning becomes even more meaningful.
Thank you for your consideration. I appreciate the fact that Digital Wish is looking for new and exciting opportunities that will benefit and help at-risk youth.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Science and History
Record lab techniques for future students.
Gather data.
Encourage collaborative learning.
Improve research techniques.
Allow at-risk youth to learn a variety of technology skills.
Enhance computer use and real world skills.
Materials: Speech and Language, Cause and Effect, Mice, Camera Bags, Microscopes, Projector Screens, Wildlife, Flip Video