Education Trunks

Academic Enrichment Grant 2019-2020 Project Summary

Carrie Fox

Oklahoma History Center • Oklahoma City, OK

The Oklahoma History Center offers Traveling Trunks available to teachers and other educators to check out with the objective of bringing the museum to the classroom. Oklahoma ranks 20th in the nation in area and is comprised of 77 counties. Access to the physical museum is limited by distance and transportation costs for many students. Our educational trunks enrich student inquiry. Each standards-aligned trunk contains hands on artifacts, supplemental materials, and cross-curricular activities. In an effort to highlight the experiences of ALL Oklahomans and provide exposure of diverse life experiences in Oklahoma to the students of the state, we will develop two new trunks. One trunk will offer students the opportunity to explore the experiences, contributions, and culture of Oklahoma’s Latinx residents. The trunk will provide a comprehensive overview of Latinx presence in Oklahoma and introduce students to cultural elements central to the Latinx experiences. While Latinx culture and history impacted Oklahoma long before it existed as a state, the recent demographic shift in Oklahoma makes this trunk timely. Today, Latinx residents comprise 10% of the total state population, a marked increase from the 1.8% percentage in 1980. In many cities, Latinx residents represent a near-majority and are the largest minority group in the state. The second trunk will emphasize Oklahoma’s unique history as the termination point of wave after wave of migration to the state from disparate groups. Stories and objects highlighting Oklahoma’s Mennonite, Jewish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arab, Turk, and Zomi communities will enrich the general educational materials on migration study. The opportunity to explore the diverse communities of Oklahoma over time within a geographic framework will allow students to develop a nuanced understanding of the patterns of migration and a realistic awareness of the state and its people. Trunk contents and curriculum will be developed with the assistance of community members closely connected to the trunk theme to ensure cultural sensitivity and authenticity. Each curriculum guide will contain extensive background information for teachers to develop lesson plans surrounding the trunk contents while also offering cross-curricular activities that allow for the use of the trunk in a variety of subjects and instructional environments. The supplemental materials will provide for student-directed inquiry into trunk related topics and cover a range of presentation formats and complexity. The artifacts will allowing students to actively engage with relevant objects. Once completed, the trunks will be available for Oklahoma educators and librarians to check out for one-week blocks. Teachers who pick up the trunk may do so for free or the Oklahoma History Center will ship the trunk to schools across the state for the cost of shipping.

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