Is time travel only in science fiction? Not at Riverbend Elementary School. On Friday, April 7th, the 5th grade traveled back in time to 1607 Jamestown, Virginia, the site of the first permanent English colony in America. The class used a relatively inexpensive piece of technology: Apple TV, 2 phones, and a teacher visiting there, a link was established and a 30 minute virtual field trip through Jamestown was conducted by Cathi Burnette. The students had studied Jamestown’s history before the “trip” as Mrs. Burnette had led a classroom lesson on the subject.
The students began their virtual experience at the Tercentennial Memorial. It’s a stone obelisk built in 1907 commemorating the 300 year old landing at Jamestown. As Mrs. Burnette continued, the class viewed the statues of John Smith and Pocahontas, a rebuilt palisade wall and barracks of the fort, the chancel area where Pocahontas and John Rolfe were married, the graves where the remains of 4 of the first 104 men to arrive in Jamestown were buried. Captain Gabriel Archer’s grave included a mysterious silver box, still sealed! What was in it? Ask a 5th grader to find out.
Mrs. Burnette pointed out a cellar where animal bones, ceramics and sadly human bones have been located, catalogued and studied. All tell the bleak but fascinating history of the beginnings of a new country. It’s a story of extreme courage and perseverance in spite of numerous hardships.
The highlight was touring and observing in real time the current excavation in the Jamestown church. The teachers, classes, as well as Mrs. Burnette, watched as archeologists uncovered a section of the church foundation that hadn’t been seen for hundreds of years! They had the opportunity to ask questions of the archeologists and discuss their findings. So time travel does exist! All you need is technology, a bit of creativity, students who want to know more and a person who is willing to lead the way!