Seven miles of walking took the sixth graders to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the American History Museum, the Capitol Building, and the Library of Congress today.
Did you know that Woodrow Wilson’s portrait adorns the $100,000 bill printed in 1934? At the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, students measured their height compared to that of a stack of $100 bills. Some totaled $1.7 million tall and others a meager $1.3 million. A proper determination of net worth, right?
The actual Star Spangled Banner that inspired Frances Scott Key lies reverently displayed in a dimly lit room at the American History Museum. Also in the museum, many of our sixth grade young ladies delighted in seeing the dresses each First Lady wore on Inauguration Day and learning how the First Lady contributes the work of the White House. There were even several students who were spotted giving televised presidential addresses behind that infamous podium!
At the Library of Congress we saw one of only three perfect copies of the Gutenberg Bible printed entirely on vellum in the 15th century. Also on display is the complete library of Thomas Jefferson with books in Latin, French, Greek, Italian, and English. Word on the street is that some certain sixth grade teachers may have scored Library of Congress library cards!
At the Capitol building, sixth grade got into a nasty brawl! Punches thrown, teeth flying, blood spurting! Oh, wait. Sixth grade only did a mild reenactment of the brawl which actually occurred in 1858 amongst members of the House of Representatives over the issue of slavery in the very room where we stood, now the National Statuary Hall. Also in national statuary hall, we admired the courage and strength of Rosa Parks who is represented seated as on a Montgomery bus.
by Michelle Seneff, parent blogger
We started our day bright and early, not knowing what to expect.
We would never have anticipated that the actual structures built to house our government would be so thoughtfully planned. Those who built our government intentionally incorporated so many symbolic, artistic, yet functional components.
In the rotunda of the Capital Building, the story of our nation is told through art. Given its beauty, it’s hard to believe that so many people actually go to work there. Laws are still being passed, and in fact, the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, walked through the room during our tour. Another group saw news crews prepping for interviews with lawmakers.
The Library of Congress is certainly one of the most beautiful buildings we had seen. The art was absolutely stunning and the architecture and mosaics had an absolute wow factor. We are still in awe of it. It seems almost odd to think that it is still a functioning library, with over 20 reading rooms. In fact, Mrs. Brodrecht went to get a Library of Congress library card while we were there, and we later found out that one of our chaperones already had one.
The Supreme Court building was filled with symbolism, including a depiction of Moses. Students were able to enter the courtroom where cases have been heard since the 1930’s. We were surprised to see how small the actual courtroom is in relation to the grandeur of the building.
We ended our day at the National Archives. This building houses some of the most important documents ever written. Students were excited to view the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. They saw the Emancipation Proclamation and also the Magna Carta, which even though it was written in the 1500’s is still relevant and important today.
Thanks to what they had learned at Geneva in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, our students already understood the context and significance of the documents and were happy to see the real deal.
It was a great day.