News / USA

Students Make Movies to Experience US History

Students Make Movies to Experience US Historyi
X
February 19, 2014 6:28 PM
There's nothing like experiencing history to understand it. So instead of reading about the U.S. Civil War in textbooks, some schoolchildren in Virginia are taking a hands-on approach to learning about what happened in their area. They are creating videos related to the conflict, in which the northern Union and southern Confederate states fought over several issues, including slavery, from 1861-1865. Deborah Block has more from Locust Grove, Virginia.
Deborah Block
There's nothing like experiencing history to understand it. So instead of reading about the U.S. Civil War in textbooks, some schoolchildren in Virginia are taking a hands-on approach to learning about what happened in their area. They are creating videos related to the conflict, in which the northern Union and southern Confederate states fought over several issues, including slavery, from 1861-1865. 

The young filmmakers re-enact American history, where it happened. In one scene children portray two Union generals, meeting at the Rapidan River in central Virginia.

The 12- and 13-year-olds are producing a mini-video -- or vodcast -- on the key role temporary pontoon bridges played during the war.  Transported by soldiers, the bridges consisted of small boats tied together with planks on top.  After building and crossing a pontoon bridge on the Rapidan, Union soldiers defeated a Confederate army in the Battle of the Wilderness. 

Shane Lohr, who played one of the generals, learned the bridges provided big advantages for the armies because they could set them up quickly.

“They took wagons, horses, and all the soldiers across the bridges, and once everyone crossed it they took it apart and brought it with them,” Lohr said.

The scene is in one of several videos relating to the Civil War being produced by local school children. The project is sponsored by the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, which raises awareness of historical sites from Pennsylvania to Virginia, including many Civil War battlegrounds.

Jessie Aucoin, the group's Educational Programs Director, said the vodcasts are put to good use.

“We can upload [them] on the Internet and teachers across the country, and arguably, across the world, can then use them in their own classrooms," Aucoin said.

With help from advisors, the children also research, write, and edit the videos. Alexis Albert got a chance to try out directing and learned a lot about Civil War history in the process.

“It helps me more as a student understand it more than reading a book and looking at words,” he said.

In another scenario, students portray soldiers who are marching to the river with muskets. Today, the area is part of a national military park. 

Park Educational Coordinator Peter Maugle shows the children how to hold the fake musket.   
 
“Hopefully they will understand why these places are important through projects and programs like this, and they will make an effort to go ahead and keep these places preserved for future generations,” he said.

Another backdrop for the videos is nearby Ellwood Manor, the plantation where much of the Battle of the Wilderness was fought. At this location another group of children is focusing on the diary of a woman who lived in the region during the war.

Student director John Ashley says the experience has made him think more about the human aspect of the war.

“In history books, you read about the battles and that sort of stuff.  I learned a little bit more about the people who were living here at this time,” said Ashley.

Filmmaker Ghil Hong donated his time to help the students, who he said have caught on quickly.

“They are trying to convey the emotions that might have been conveyed back during the Civil War.  They really focus on wanting the story to be accurate,” Hong added.

The vodcasts will be available in May, and - like student videos produced over the past four years - can be viewed on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground website and on YouTube.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid