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May 13, 2014

Morgan students connect with colonial times

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

Dozens of fifth-graders from Morgan Elementary School recently conducted an old-school investigation of life in the American colonies.

The fifth-grade students held a job fair based on colonial America at the school’s cafeteria May 7. In order to complete the assignment, they had to put together a presentation that included writing a speech about their chosen job, designing a poster and crafting a job-related ad.

According to Morgan teacher Marianne Nowicki, the students picked out colonial jobs that they wished to study. As part of the project, they then had to learn about different aspects of colonial society, such as the economy, the workforce, industries and lifestyles.

“The students are able to look at the natural resources, the human resources, the capital equipment,” she said. “They learn about the job that actually needs to be done, the supplies (and) why a specific colony would need that job.”

For the purpose of the lesson, Nowicki said, the students had to consider life in 17th or 18th century colonial America. She said students were able to choose professions such as blacksmith, wheelwright, teacher, glassblower and seamstress.

“We had a person that is actually doing stained glass windows this year — how they put them in churches,” she explained.

The students had to pick which of the 13 colonies they lived in and where they would get needed supplies to carry out their livelihood. They also had to research how to do the job, Nowicki said.

Nowicki added that the project also gave children a chance to learn about the history of slavery and its connection to the economy, as some students researched what life was like as a plantation owner or slave.

Fifth-grader Alex Pulaski said she chose to learn about life as a house slave on a rice plantation. She said the cooking and cleaning work was very tough.

“If you didn’t do what you were supposed to do, you would have very severe punishments,” Pulaski said.

Fifth-grader Jadyn Martin chose the profession of seamstress.

“I thought it’d be nice to know about how the women made dresses and other clothing,” Martin said. “When I had to do my research, I actually learned a lot. (The work) takes a long time, and the work wasn’t as easy as I thought.”

Learn more about Morgan Elementary School, 53800 Mound Road in Shelby Township, by visiting www.uticak12.org or by calling (586) 797-5800.