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Riley’s Farm Field Trip

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Riley's Farm Civil War Adventure

Riley's Farm Civil War Adventure

Josh Sorenson via stocksnap.io

Josh Sorenson via stocksnap.io

Riley's Farm Civil War Adventure

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On May 11th, the eighth grade GATE students of Kraemer Middle School went on a field trip to Riley’s Farm as an exciting addition to their American Civil War curriculum. There, the students learned about not only how life at war was, but also how to properly behave and do chores like in the 19th century. The eighth grade students were able to speak their opinions on whether or not the state of Maryland should secede from the United States, watch the amputation of a soldier’s arm, and even participate in a reenactment of a Civil War battle.

The day started off with the students boarding the buses to reach Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen at 7:45 in the morning. After a rather long ride, the students finally reached the farm, where they were immediately placed into “regiments,” with whom they spent the majority of the activities with. These activities included a town hall meeting, where students were able to speak as citizens of Maryland to decide if their state should remain with the Union or join the Confederacy. There were many other activities there, such as a lesson on Civil War-era etiquette, and a reenactment of how soldiers were amputated. For the last, a student from each regiment was selected to pretend to be injured from a gunshot, requiring their hand to be amputated. Also, students learned how to enlist to fight in the war, how to complete chores such as doing the laundry back in the 19th century, and how to drill like a Civil War soldier. However, the eighth graders didn’t just act like Civil War soldiers, they ate like them as well. In addition to the packed lunches that they brought on the field trip, the Kraemer students were treated to a “soldier’s ration,” which consisted of a slice of cheese, an apple, some beef jerky, and a bit of hardtack, which is pretty much a biscuit that soldiers ate. Kraemer student Lindsey N. evidently enjoyed this part of the trip, saying “The hardtack and jerky were actually really good.”

The day culminated in a reenactment of the Battle of Malvern Hill, where students were armed with rifles (not actual guns, just tree branches), and set to fight each other. The battle resulted in a Union victory, as students acting as Confederate soldiers “died,” or simply just sat down in the grass, pretending to be dead. Following this, students, teachers, and parent chaperones were able to go pick up some delicious, freshly baked apple pies and apple dumplings that they were given the opportunity to order earlier in the day. Afterward, the congregation of Kraemer students hopped back onto their school buses, and headed back to the school, arriving right before the classes let out at 3:30. So all in all, the field trip to Riley’s Farm was overall an enjoyable and educational trip for the 2017 eighth grade GATE classes.

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Riley’s Farm Field Trip