Display at Carter House - Students share Civil War project

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Levi Tuecke and Ashley Funk do a peer review of another student’s Civil War project.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Central students will take a short road trip this week in order to share their work in a special setting. The students, all sophomores, will set up display boards Thursday at the Carter House Museum that will feature their research on the Civil War. The Carter House, built by pioneer brothers Ernest and Henry Carter, was completed about a decade before war broke out.

The public can stop by the museum between 10:40 a.m. and noon to view the boards and ask the students about their work.

The multi-disciplinary project embraced concepts from the students’ biology, social studies and English classes. Tying the three subjects together was an important part of the assignment. For example, research into the history of the war gave students insight into the significant impact of disease. For every soldier who died in battle, they learned, two died of dysentery, typhoid fever, consumption, small pox and other ailments. As part of their biology classwork, they learned about those specific diseases and how they spread. Skills from their English class were used to put the projects together and to do peer reviews on the work.

Paired up for the assignment, students randomly selected a regiment to study. For some students, information on their chosen regiment was readily available; others struggled to find something to use.

“Google does not have all of the information you need for a five-page paper,” said Caleb Jones, adding that he had to dig deeper into other less accessible resources, which was something his instructors had counted on. “I learned (from this assignment) that I don’t want to be an historian,” he added.

Not everyone shared Caleb’s sentiment. William Christeleit, a self-described “war junkie,” was energized by the project. “After you follow a single regiment through some of the deadliest battles of the war, you learn about (everything) from diseases to troop movement,” he said.

Nearly every student commented on the prevalence of disease and the armies’ inability to fight it. But that’s not all they learned.

“Some students learned that women disguised themselves as men in order to fight,” said English instructor Carolyn Yanda. “This prompted them to continue researching. It was exciting to hear them talk about the new ideas they found. That’s real learning.”

The work that the students will display at the Carter House will include maps, portraits, lists and timetables, explained social studies instructor Mark Wiley. There will also be research papers on each regiment.

The “book learning” that stemmed from the project is only one goal of the assignment.

Wiley said, “I hope they will take away many things from their efforts, including organization, preparation, ability to collaborate and present information to the public.”

His wishes ring true for at least one of the students interviewed: “The thing I learned from this project was how to manage my time and effort on certain things,” said Andrew Klink. The biggest challenge was completely the project. The biggest reward is knowing it’s done.”

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