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BHSU helps children explore the present, past and future

The past, present, and the future of the Black Hills is what elementary age children were investigating during the Summer Exploration Institute, presented by Black Hills State University. During a trip to the Frawley Ranch participants got the opportunity to play an old-fashioned game of jacks. Zack Holzer takes his turn during the game.

The past, present, and the future of the Black Hills is what elementary age children were investigating during the Summer Exploration Institute (SEI), presented by Black Hills State University.

Nineteen children from the area engaged their minds in critical and creative thinking during the week long course. The group spent time in the classroom participating in learning activities to prepare for field trips. Topics explored include hummingbirds and butterflies, the history of Spearfish Creek, various forms and sources of energy, Lakota teepees and camp structures, Native American history, area landmarks, early education in the Black Hills, and the history of trails, railroads, branding and leather.

Field trips included visits to Homestake power plant, the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery, an archaeological site at Fort Meade, a one-room schoolhouse on the Frawley Ranch and the Western Heritage Center.

According to Mary Jones, director of SEI and assistant professor of education at BHSU, “The children who participated in the program were energetic, fun, and eager to try new things. They taught us many new facts.”

“I have always wanted to offer a summer program for gifted and talented children so I designed the program and recruited BHSU students to help facilitate and teach the program,” noted Jones. Jones has 23 years of experience in developing programs and writing curriculum. SEI teachers included six BHSU education students and graduates, five of whom are working on their gifted certification.

The curriculum developed for SEI will be donated to the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery and the Western Heritage Center.
Plans are already underway for next year’s program. For more information contact Jones at Mary.Jones@BHSU.edu or 605.642.6833.

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