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Below you will find detailed information about the programs mentioned on our site. If you would like more information please feel free to contact The Interactive History Co. via email or call our offices at: (206) 933-8681 or toll free at: (866) 320-1776. We look forward to working with you!
Ancient Alphabets & Mathematics
Students are introduced to the unique history of the development of writing and the concept of numbers and arithmetic as they were represented in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. Students learn how to represent their names, along with a simple biography of themselves, using three different systems of writing, creating their own personal Rosetta Stone.
Drama & Storytelling
The ability to convey an interesting story, whether through acting it out or simply telling it in a straightforward manner, has long been considered an important talent. Students are taught some of the most important elements of storytelling, using the ancient Greek stories from mythology and Aesop’s Fables. Class concludes with students who volunteer to tell their stories using what they have learned. There is an option for the students to pursue this subject as a class project with their teacher by further developing one of the stories into play and putting it on in the ancient Greek theatrical style.
Tunics & Chitons
Students are introduced to the fiber, fabrics and fashions of the Ancient World and learn how those elements of everyday life affected how one was treated in ancient societies. In conclusion, the students are given the opportunity to try on different examples of ancient styles of clothing.
Games & Athletics of the Ancient World
Students are instructed in a variety of games played in ancient times as well as learn about the importance the Greeks placed on physical fitness and why they encouraged their children to master certain skills that their games still teach today. This program gives the students a great outlet for a lot of ‘kid-energy’ in a focused and educational, yet fun, environment. A variety of Greek, Roman & Mesopotamian games are set up for students to test their skills, including: Balance games, Eye-hand coordination games and Tag-games (When appropriate) as well as strategy & dice games.
Ancient Tools & Measurements - After this class, you’ll never be able to look at a modern hand-tool again without being able to see how someone from 3,000 years ago might have used that very same tool – or one much like it.
Human kind’s use of tools has shaped our world by allowing us to do everything from building an Aqueduct to a multi-story office building; from building the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens to the International Space Station in Earth's orbit. We may think our tools are far superior to those of the ancient world, however, many of the most modern tools are simply improvements on the ones used by the builders of ancient Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome. This Hands-on History class offered by Interactive History Co. explores some of the basic tools that would be easily recognized by builders of both the modern and ancient worlds: The incline plane, the drill, the hammer, the wedge… You will learn to use your own body as a measuring tool, practice with a hand powered pump drill, and level a building project using the same system the Egyptians used in building their pyramids.
Fiber Arts of the Ancient World - Producing or acquiring enough cloth for their family’s needs was a constant challenge for those living in ancient times. They had very basic tools to work with and very limited resources of fibers that had to be handspun into thread, then woven into cloth and finally sewn and perhaps dyed into its final form. Students are taught how to use the drop-spindle -- a tool that was already thousands of years old even at that time -- to produce a length of yarn that they can turn into a bookmark or bracelet. In the process they begin to understand how extremely time-consuming it was to perform all the different steps to create even the most basic piece of clothing during that era. Supply Fee (A Variety of Fibers for students to spin and keep): $10.00/Class of ~ 30 students
Ancient Astronomy – Multi-media presentation – OR – Evening workshop for an overnight camp. - The philosophers and mathematicians of Ancient Greece were fascinated by every nuance of Astronomy. The cycles of the Sun, Moon, Planets and Stars played crucial roles in every aspect of their society. Students are introduced to some of the unique concepts the Greeks held about astronomy, then must attempt to create their own system of constellations – and even myths, if they like, on a worksheet representing the main star groups for that corresponding time of year, with the modern constellation names blanked out. This is an amazingly fun exercise that truly engages students’ imaginations, while familiarizing them with concepts that held great sway in Greek society, giving the student a greater understanding of that society.
Out of the Labyrinth...
By at least 2000 BCE, the symbol of the classical labyrinth was being used in the Minoan societies on the island of Crete. Within a few hundred years some very famous stories and myths that still survive today grew out of the concept of the Labyrinth. Students are treated to an acted-out re-telling of one of the most famous labyrinthine myths, that of Perseus & the Minotaur and then afterward are taught an easy to replicate system for drawing a Minoan Labyrinth and finally are invited to walk through a Minoan-style labyrinth on a 12’x12’ canvas. – This is a wonderful storytelling/activity program for both elementary school students and library presentations.
Slings and Targets
There are sling-stones excavated from archeological sites in Greece that have the word, “DEXA” inscribed on them, which means, “Take that!” Ever since the time of the story of David and Goliath, the power of a well-aimed sling-stone has been well documented. This IHC class focuses on helping students acquire a hands-on understanding of one of the most basic tools of defense used everywhere in the ancient world. Students create very small versions of an ancient style of leather sling and then with crumpled-paper “stones” attempt to acquire the skill to master it against a replica of a real ancient Greek-style target. Art Supply Fee: $20.00/Class of ~ 30 students.
Living History in the Athenian Agora
Students are introduced to the realities of life in ancient times and divided into different social classes, being given IHC Greek-style chitons to wear over their own clothes. The concept of the market faire being a place for people of all social levels to gather is introduced to the students, who are then invited to ‘visit the market’ and participate in a variety of stations set-up around the presentation space where they will create something at each station. The Agora represents 4 of the areas in which the Ancient Greeks excelled: Science, Art, Written Language and Seafaring- These special talents are represented at the 4 Agora “shops”
Apothecary - Representing Science/Medicine: Students create 'protective amulets'
Sail Maker’s Shop - Representing Seafaring: Students create a length of Rope by hand
Scribe's Shop - Representing Written Language: Students create a scroll using the Greek alphabet.
Artist’s Booth: Students create an exemplar of Greek Art Motifs (i.e. Greek key patterns, Minoan labyrinth, etc.)
Living History in the Greek Theater - Students are introduced to the importance that the Theatre Arts played in almost every aspect of life in Classical Greece - from pure entertainment to political commentary that could see the playwright jailed or banished. Based on the concept that "Theatre is an Experience and Not a Thing", students will work together to produce a play based on a classical Greek fable. Using the democratic method championed by the Greeks, Students will choose a story from a set collection of Greek fables to dramatize. With the IHC instructor acting as the play's director, jobs will be assigned and students will work at various stations in preparation for putting on their play:
Stage Crew: Students work together to erect a backdrop and stage area, learning the various names and some of the history behind plays and performances in the Classical Greek Theatre Tradition
Behind the 'Skene': Students will assemble the scrolls for the scripts they will read-out as the actors and the 'korus' (chorus) for their chosen play, choose the appropriate costumes & masks for the different roles and most importantly, learn the story and their lines - while helping others to learn theirs.
Actors & Korus: The 'Director' will explain and direct the students in staging (blocking) the action of the play and then rehearse the combination of their lines, the action and the necessary behind-the-skene effects for their chosen play.
Performance: The culminating experience of 'Living History in the Greek Theatre' will be the final performance of the play with students assigned to the various roles as the actors, the korus, the stage crew and the audience. Note: the audience had the final say on whether a play was ever performed again and they themselves could take a very active 'role' in that determination, sometimes giving their feedback/criticism in the form of throwing things (in this instance, foam-rubber fruit :) at the stage.
The Athenian Market Faire
The Market Faire is presented and coordinated by the instructors of The Interactive History Co. who introduce and explain how the market faire works and facilitate the students’ enjoyment of the faire throughout, with additional period activities.
The Athenian Market Faire is most often the culmination for the social studies or history study unit covering the Ancient Greek civilization. Lasting ~ 90 minutes the faire works best when held in a larger school venue, such as a cafeteria or library. The Market faire begins with all students and teachers coming together to experience a period-focused ancient “economy” based on barter and trade. In the week to 10 days leading up to the faire, all students (Teachers are welcome too!) should be working on creating approximately 8 - 12 items that they can bring to the Faire to trade with their fellow scholars. Each individual student can choose to create items that are all the same or made up of a variety of things that one might expect to find in that part of the world during that time period. Students should also be sure to bring something such as a bag, basket or box to carry their items in and to hold the items they will acquire during the Market Faire. A list of suggestions and examples can be found on the References Page
Medieval Armor: IHC Brings in a full compliment of over 300 lbs of medieval style armor, shields and helmets to present a program on the full range of Armor used during the Middle Ages. This program is designed for the school-aged audience and includes a 15-20 minute verbal introduction followed by an opportunity to try-on the armor in the display. This program also offers an array of fun-filled photo opportunities.
Chain Maille - Link by Link: Armourers have created chain maille to protect knights and warriors in battle for more than 2000 years. The Interactive History Co, provides a close-up look at how chain maille was worn and made, as an IHC instructor introduces the history of chain-maille and invites students to try on various examples of chain-maille armor. Students will have the opportunity to experience the weight as well as the amazing flexibility of chain-maille armor– something most people only get to read about in fantasies, fairy tales and history books. Students will also be allowed to try their hands at working chain-maille links together and may take home their sample work. (Extra Fee for Chain Maille Supplies: $35.00/class group of 30 )
Hands-on Heraldry: Charging into an exciting excerpt from Sir Walter Scott’s classic medieval adventure story, Ivanhoe the Interactive History Instructor advises students how to create their own medieval style coat-of-arms using the Medieval “Rules of Tincture” used by Medieval Heralds for Knights, Dukes, Princes and Kings.
Illuminated: This program explains in basic terms how books were created during the Middle Ages and then guides students through the steps to create their own class journal in the form of a small illuminated booklet. (Extra Fee for Art Supplies: $10.00/class group
Dragons By Design – A Medieval Bestiary: Images of dragons are a common theme in Medieval stories and collections of various mythical creatures, known as ‘Bestiaries’. The Interactive History Company Instructor introduces some of the history of these creatures and then teaches the basics of how to draw the classic Medieval dragon. IHC provides all drawing supplies as well as easy to trace dragon templates for younger artists; while demonstrating simple freehand techniques for the more experienced. (Extra Fee for Art Supplies: $10.00/class group)
Take a Medieval Spin: Students are invited to determine for themselves why Catherine Called Birdie and other Medieval story -characters try to avoid their spinning chores whenever possible, as an Instructor from The Interactive History Co. presents the basics of hand-spinning with medieval-style drop-spindles. Students will finish up by creating enough yarn to make a bookmark or friendship bracelet to take home with them. (Extra Fee for Spinning Fibers: $15.00/class group)
Medieval Clothing: In the Middle Ages what a person wore clearly showed their social rank and position, and that position determined how they were treated throughout their life. This program offers students an opportunity to see and wear medieval-style clothing and understand the unusually important role that fashion played in a person’s everyday existence during that time.
Medieval Medicine: An introduction to the unique Medieval mindset regarding medicine as well as the unusual methods of treating the sick and injured practiced during the Middle Ages. Class concludes with students attempting to recreate a type of medieval medicated bandage, called an “herbal poultice” to take home with them. (Extra Fee for Herbs and supplies: $12.00/class group)
Games and Pastimes: A lively introduction to some of the games unique to the Middle Ages and their connections to modern pastimes still played today. Be ready to be challenged to a game of both balance and strategy on the “Hunker-Hauser” boards or test your eye-hand coordination with the “Sticks-and-Rings” or learn much more challenging version of “Tic-Tac-Toe”. This program has something for everyone from the shy and studious to school athletes.
Dances of Village & Court: Dance during the Middle Ages was an integral part of the social interaction of the period, whether one lived in a small village or a great Medieval Castle. The dances taught in this program range from fun informal country line-dances to the more formal steps expected of young lords and ladies of the court. (Dances taught in this class do not require any set partners or boy-girl match-ups)
Maypole Fun: IHC provides students a rollicking taste of medieval life while they learn the complex and ancient pastime of weaving the Maypole.
During the Living History in a Medieval Manor workshop students are introduced to the realities of life in the Middle Ages - specifically the rigid social strata of the medieval era. The workshop divides participants into distinct ‘households’ of 6 - 10 individuals. Each student is assigned a role to play within their household. To further help them envision what life in the Middle Ages was like, they're given a basic IHC costume to wear over their normal clothes for the duration of the workshop. The groups then visit 4 "rooms" as might be found in a typical Medieval Manor set up as activities-stations around a classroom. Each household group spends ~ 15-20 minutes at each station.
Stations for the workshop include:
The Wardrober's Chamber -- Students hand-sew a simple pouch to understand how all clothes were completely handmade from the fiber to the finished garment, which is why clothes were considered such a statement of rank and wealth
The Infirmary -- Students create an Herbal Poultice - the Medieval equivalent of a modern medicated bandage.
The Scriptorium– Students create a small pamphlet from a book signature, using a medieval method for creating hand-bound books
The Solarium– Using a tool called a drop-spimde, students hand spin a small length of yarn to attach to their Persona tags as a keepsake bookmark
The culmination of the Living History Workshop brings all students back together where they are guided through a student assessment and discussion about what they’ve learned. For an additional fee the program conclusion can also involve a very basic meal of professionally pre-packaged foods that closely imitate what someone of that time period might eat in the middle of the day. These can include: whole grain brown bread of spelt (An ancient Roman grain) or barley served with butter or honey, a white cheese, with grape or apple juice taking the place of a weak ale or wine.
The Medieval Barter Faire is presented and coordinated by the instructors of The Interactive History Co. who introduce and explain how the Barter faire works and facilitate students’ enjoyment of the faire throughout with additional period activities. The Medieval Barter Faire is most often a culmination of a social studies or history unit about the Middle Ages. The students and teachers involved come together to experience the Medieval “economy” based on barter and trade. Leading up to the IHC presentation all students (Teachers are welcome as well!) should be working on creating approximately 8 - 12 items that they can bring to the Medieval Barter Faire to trade with their fellow students. The individual student can choose to create items that are all the same or made up of a variety of things that one might expect to find in that part of the world during the Medieval period. Students should also be sure to bring something such as a bag, basket or box to carry their items in and to hold the items they will acquire during the Barter Faire. A list of suggestions and examples can be found our References Page.
This information is in the process of being updated and expanded - we thank you for your patience and invite you to check back with us in the very near future!
Astronomical! – Science in the Renaissance
Figuring out Shakespeare*
Games & Pastimes of Merry Olde England
Kerchief to Sail – Making Textiles in the 16th Century
The Merry Maypole
Physician – Heal Thyself! – 16th Century Medicine
A Sonnet by Any Other Name
Strategies of Battle and Court*
Theater – Shakespeare’s Craft
*These Classes are recommended for the Middle and High School Humanities teacher presenting the later Renaissance period. The programs encompass a delightful and engaging introduction to Elizabethan England and the culture that nurtured the genius of Christopher Marlowe & William Shakespeare, as well as prominent statesmen and military leaders like Francis Bacon & Admiral Drake.
Information coming soon... Thanks for your patience!
This information is being updated. Please check back soon
Focus-on-History Classes (45 - 60 minutes)
These programs consist of a general verbal introduction to the time period and then focus on a particular element of Colonial life.
The Apothecary's Shoppe - Students are introduced to some of the unique concepts of Colonial era medicine. Students are then shown how to create their own simple herbal poultice which is the ancestor of the modern medicated bandage
The Book Binder's Apprentice - Students are introduced to the extreme importance of the printing trade in Colonial America – The chosen trade of our Founding Father, Ben Franklin. Students are then shown how to create a book-signature (Book-signatures formed the smaller individual sections of hand-made books) then hand-print a decoration on the cover using a stamp with a Colonial period design
Colonial Homespun - Students are taught how to spin yarn on a drop spindle as well as seeing a demonstration with a traditional spinning wheel. The Students are then invited to create a simple Early American toy called a button-spinner with the yarn they've spun. "Stenciling - Early American Art" - Students are taught how to create a stencil from colonial-era motifs and then use their stencil to paint their chosen motif onto piece of cloth or paper. Art Fee: $25/Class rotation
Colonial Fashions - Students are introduced to the clothing styles and fashions of Early America as compared to contemporary fashions. The students are then invited to try-on examples of Colonial-style clothing Accessories.
Dancing & Pastimes and Other Scandalous Behavior - – Since all entertainment had to be provided live and un-recorded, people of the American colonies came up with many creative ways to keep from going ‘nutty’. This is a fun, hands-on exploration of colonial era games and other attempts to escape the boredom of long cold winters with no useful form of electricity to speak of…
Early American Quilting - Students are introduced to the history and basic skllls required to create this very necessary household item of the Early American Period
Flags & Symbols - Students are introduced to some of the stories and ideals that were considered so important during the American Revolution. The students are then invited to use what they have learned to create unique symbols that they feel could have represented the goals of the American Colonists fighting the Revolutionary War
Pilgrim Life - Exploration of the survival skills necessary to the men, women and children who landed in what would become the town of Plymouth in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, almost 400 years ago, in 1620 -- Students are asked to imagine what it would be like to arrive on the shores of a continent with a completely different, and often hostile, environment than the one you left and attempting to survive the same way you lived in a country 3,000 miles away.
There are two Living History Workshops based on the Colonial period.
These consist of a minimum 2 ½ hour program, that combines several elements of our Focus-on-History programs combined together into a more integrated and intensive presentation of the overall time period.
These programs are:
Living History as a Colonial Apprentice
Living History in the Continental Congress
Battlefield Medicine - The conditions confronted by both Union and Confederate Soldiers wounded on the battlefields of the American Civil War are almost too gruesome to imagine. However, this class invites the students to do just that, staging a modern day concept - a disaster preparedness rehearsal - in the context of a Civil War Field Hospital. Students are given an introduction to what was the common medical practice of the period and then divided up into wounded soldiers & civilians, along with with doctors and nurses who are given the task of treating them the way they would have been treated in the 1860's. The class concludes with an assessment of the number of casualties and survivors and a comparison to modern medical practice.
Homefront Survival Crafts - During much of the Civil War there were shortages of almost all kinds, food, clothing, seeds to plant more food. For people left behind or soldiers who returned, life might require some very creative adjustments. Students learn ~ 3 different skills that were common adaptations the people back home had to develop in order to survive