Swords and arrows, wool-spinning and armour; it was all part of the Tuesday morning Humanities 8 class, last week at Lake Trail School.
A portion of Leah Baron’s Humanities 8 curriculum involves studying the Middle Ages. When she saw the direction her students were taking within the Middle Ages studies, Baron got a little creative with her teaching, and brought the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism – the Shire of Hartwood – to the school for a “Demo Day”.
“We also have a course called ‘Inquiries’, so my Humanities 8 students are also taking Inquiry 8, which is an opportunity to research things that are of interest to the individual students,” she explained. “It’s like a student-driven course. So we are studying the Middle Ages, but in Inquiry, they have taken interest in all sorts of different areas. A lot of them decided to study weaponry, or archery, or armour. So this was a perfect fit.”
Baron said she had seen a medieval group at a Renaissance Fair a few years ago, and thought it would be an ideal way to bring the Middle Ages directly into the classroom.
“I just looked them up online on the off-chance that there would be a group here, and was completely surprised and thrilled that there was,” she said. “We pulled it together really quickly; I think I contacted them maybe three weeks ago. And the whole thing was so skilled.”
“We do a lot of demos, and we are very interactive – very hands-on, so it works really well with the kids,” said John Mail, chief archer for the Shire of Hartwood.
“My students loved it,” said Baron. “They learned things that they hadn’t even thought to ask. Certainly when it came to things like the writing, the calligraphy, the spinning – they have read that in their textbook, but to actually see it. To see how long it takes to make (wool). And then getting to try on armour, and hold swords, it was a real amazing experience.”
“We had quite a number of areas where they could participate, so not only did they get a visual, but there was a lot of hands-on stuff as well,” said Mail.
Baron said this could be the first of many visits by the Society for Creative Anachronism.
“Absolutely we will have them back,” she said. “It was a really enriching experience.”