December 3, 2018 at 6:35 PM CST - Updated December 3 at 6:35 PM
CARBONDALE, IL (Heartland News at 9) -The state of Illinois celebrates its 200th birthday on Monday, December 3, 2018.
On December 3rd, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state to be admitted to the Union.
Fourth graders at Lewis Elementary School in Carbondale, Illinois celebrated the occasion with experiences they will never forget. From learning how to Polka dance, to historical reenactments with Mary Todd Lincoln, the students were active throughout the entire morning.
Former teacher Betsy Brown not only dressed as Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, but also taught the students the history behind it all.
“Kids need to experience history, she said. “History should be your favorite class.” Brown says children need to get on their feet. “Just reading isn’t going to do it. They need to experience it so that’s why the activities planned for today are perfect.”
Starting early in the morning to right after lunch, more than 150 fourth and fifth graders visited five different stations to learn more about the state’s history.
In the first station was Patty Cake Polka Dancing, the second was making ornaments made out of salt dough in the shape of Illinois broken off into its three regions.
Third, the students built Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin out of pretzel sticks and icing.
Fourth, the students read the book “Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers” where an 11-year-old girl wrote to Lincoln and gave him the idea to wear a beard, so as an extension, the students wrote letters to President Donald Trump. Lastly, students also had the opportunity to play an online Kahoot Trivia game.
Fourth grader Kenneth Arthur says this is a different way to learn.
“We’ll get to learn new things more than we do on regular days, today," he said. “His peer Zeke Langan agrees, he says they got to “learn different things, like having fun while learning at the same time.”
“We got to learn about things that happened in the past and how it affects us now,” said fourth grader Christian Caffey.
Brown says the Illinois has a rich history. “Illinois has a tremendous legacy. We cannot let people forget their history because as the saying goes, those that do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”
Monday night, Governor Bruce Rauner will hosts the Illinois Bicentennial Birthday Party at Navy Pier in Chicago.