Champaign 4th graders tour WILL to learn about primary sources
Silas liked seeing the satellite dishes that looked like giant white pizzas outside Campbell Hall.
Audrey liked joining her classmates in screaming as loud as they could in the WILL-TV studio to prove that no one outside the soundproof room could hear them.
But Megan, Justen and Dominick agreed with many of the 722 Champaign fourth grade students who toured Illinois Public Media that the best part of their visit was getting to be history detectives while studying primary sources.
That was one part of the tour that was designed to supplement the students’ social studies curriculum. On the screen in WILL’s teleconference room, students saw an old photo, a report card, an essay and a newspaper clipping. Then, after making wild guesses and getting some helpful clues, they correctly discovered that all four primary sources were related to the students’ WILL host, educational outreach director Molly Delaney, from a time when she was a fourth grader, won an essay contest, and went canoeing with her brother.
“I cannot believe that your mom kept all that stuff when my mom won’t even keep my art drawings,” Silas wrote in a letter to Molly after the tour. Molly talked with students about primary sources and how they can be used in research. She showed them some of the primary sources that WILL-TV has used in making historical documentaries on Red Grange and Abraham Lincoln.
“I was surprised by how engaged the students were in every step of the tour,” said Molly. The tours also included watching a video interview with a World War II veteran, and then doing a mock interview about what the students would want kids in the future to know about them and their school. The activity showed them how they themselves can be primary sources about their own lives.
Every Champaign Unit 4 fourth grader toured WILL as part of their social studies curriculum. “The tours provided a tangible local connection for us with students and strengthened our relationship with teachers and families,” said Molly.