5th Grade Takes In the Capitol

By Heather Varda, 5th Grade Language Arts & Social Studies 5thGradeCapitol_1

The 5th graders enjoyed an historically informative tour of Frankfort last week. They toured the Thomas D. Clark History Museum, viewing artifacts from the Civil War and other historical artifacts relating to Kentucky history. Students were especially impressed with Abraham Lincoln’s watch, used in the movie Lincoln, and hearing accounts of how divided our state really was during the Civil War.

We walked down the block to the Old Capitol building, built in 1834. The kids participated in a mock trial in the Senate chamber, thinking about the pros and cons of a bill proposed in 1850. They debated about a bill proposed to enclose the property with an iron fence. Each 5th grader re-enacted the role of either a senator, visitor (taxpayer), president, or a secretary. The visitors decided that the Old Capitol should not be fenced with tax money; however, they discovered that it was in fact fenced, as the the senators eventually got their way. Then the kids walked across the hall and discovered artifacts in the House of Representatives’ desks, items that were carried by Representatives 185 years ago. The students learned that there are 100 representatives and 38 senators in Kentucky’s legislature, just as there have been for more than 180 years.

Next, we ventured over to the current Capitol. Students admired the wood-paneled Supreme Court chamber, thoroughly learning about our justice system. They now know about the three branches of government, after visiting all three branches and discussing the responsibilities of each. Lastly, the 5th graders learned that our Capitol ranks 3rd in aesthetic beauty, behind the Washington D.C. Capitol and Philadelphia’s Capitol. Overall it was a fun and informative field trip!