Jackson Middle School 7th-graders ‘Get Movin’

Learn about migration

by megan hopps

SUN PRESS Newspapers


Seventh grade students at Jackson Middle School participated in an on-site student experience Tuesday, Oct. 29.  As a specialty school, each trimester has an integrated theme of study. This fall, students have been “Investigating Migration” where they have collected Monarch data, calculated the cost of fur trade supplies, explored, and used primary artifacts dealing with colonial immigration.

“One of he things we really try to do is create an experiential learning environment for our students,” said Jackson Middle School’s Specialty School Coordinator, Jane Matheson. “We have incorporated all these activities with this great kind of connecting experience.”

Get Movin’ Day was a day for students to explore patterns of migration and immigration through hands-on learning.  Students heard from a variety of outside speakers including Monarch researchers from the University of Minnesota and an animal specialist who brought live animals from the Minnesota Zoo. The students also heard from fur traders from the Minnesota History Museum and La Compagnie, an organization that reenacts life during the fur trade.

The students also had the opportunity to talk with recent immigrants to the United States from the International Institute of Minnesota and hear about the challenges they faced coming to America.

In addition, all students became immigrants during an Ellis Island simulation.

“Six hundred and fifty seventh-graders got to experience what it’s like to be an immigrant,” Matheson said. “They arrived with passports at Ellis Island from the ship and then were processed through a variety of stations that included legal inquiries, medical inspections, and money exchange.”

Matheson added that the reason Get Movin’ Day was organized was because parents and staff wanted to incorporate what the students have been learning about in their social studies classes on the history of human migration.

“This was a great way for students to put themselves in the times of the fur trade and really understand the challenges of coming to a new country,” Matheson said.