The Visitor Center contact station is functioning out of the park auditorium. This is because the official Visitor Center is closed while it undergoes major rehabilitation. Completion date; summer 2014. Everything else is open, as usual, at the park.
On-Site Programs for Grades 4-6
1. Reconnaissance Missions: Time—2 to 3 hours
Students, as infantry or cavalry soldiers, go on simulated military reconnaissance missions in small groups with sponsors to explore the fort. Marching & carrying replica army guidons (flags) and organized in military fashion using a map, their mission is to find answers to questions on a clipboard. This multi-sensory, interdisciplinary program incorporates cooperative learning techniques, with students rotating different tasks. For closure, students at the end play a history game—with points tallied to see which group did the best job on its reconnaissance mission.
2. Scavenger Hunt: Time—1 1/2 hours
Divided into small groups with sponsors, students visit different areas of the fort, including the restored buildings and museum, searching for particular objects. The time available for your group’s visit determines how long students work on this open-ended activity. For historical context, background information on the various scavenger hunt items is provided. At the end, students’ lists are compared to see which group found the most correct answers. Later, students can research historical items that pique their interest. Closure activity is provided.
3. Mystery of the Talking Walls: Time—1½ to 2 hours
As history detectives, students work in small groups with sponsors to explore the fort, gathering clues to solve the mystery. This activity is complex; keen powers of observation, attention to detail, careful reading, & multiple steps are involved. Closure activity is provided.
4. Park Video: In the auditorium, a 15-minute video relating the story of Fort Davis shows every half hour to park visitors. If you wish your students to see this video, please tell the ranger at the Visitor Center desk. Please do not walk into auditorium while video is in progress. An expanded, 30-minute version of the video is available for purchase ($15.96 + $1.16 tax), if you wish to show it to students in the classroom. You may order it by mail for an extra $5 shipping.
1. Buffalo Soldiers’ Traveling Trunk: Loaned to schools for one week. Trunk is filled with educational materials & activities related to Buffalo Soldiers.
TEKS: All educational programs and materials are curriculum based and are in full compliance with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
*students interpret data utilizing skills of sequencing, comparing, contrasting, identifying cause & effect, making generalizations, drawing inferences, summarizing, identifying frame of references;
*students utilize map-reading and math skills;
*students express ideas orally based on visual and written information;
*students create entries based on data and observed information;
*students are exposed to primary source materials;
*students grasp a sense of the conflict between European settlers and Native Americans
*students apply critical thinking skills and use teamwork/group
TEKS—Mystery of Talking Walls:
*students utilize problem-solving process by identifying the problem, gathering information, considering options, choosing and then implementing a solution;
*students use teamwork in solving given puzzle
Did You Know?
The state of sanitation was a constant worry to the post surgeons. Dr. Daniel Weisel, who served at Fort Davis from 1868 -72, complained that the barracks were dirty and disorderly. The doctor also tried to get orders issued requiring every soldier to bathe at least twice a week during the summer.