Antique farming items put to use during G.T. Norman field trip

On Tuesday, G.T. Norman Elementary fifth-graders visited the Big Rapids Antique Farm and Power Club grounds to get a hands-on experience with history. (pictured) Dorian Yost chops a corn stalk into smaller pieces, which would be easier for livestock to digest. (Pioneer photos/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — On Tuesday, G.T. Norman Elementary students got a chance to take a break from their classrooms in favor of a hands-on history lesson.

Jim Misner, member of the Big Rapids Antique Farm and Power Club, estimated 120 fifth-graders visited the club grounds for an annual event designed to teach students about antique farming items.

At one station, Jillian Decker uses a wedge and hammer to split wood. Fifth-graders who wanted to try using the tools was offered a chance during Tuesday’s educational event.

“We show youngsters how their ancestors farmed and used everyday appliances,” he said. “We try to keep history alive.”

For the past 15 years or so, students have been visiting the various stations at the club grounds, including quilting, grinding corn, using a pedal-powered jigsaw, chopping wood and watching a blacksmithing demonstration by Bob Cook.

As students raced between different activities, Emma Steig took a moment to adjust her safety glasses before trying her hand at splitting a piece of wood with a wedge and mallet.

“Today is kind of like celebrating the old days,” she said.

Big Rapids Antique Farm and Power Club member Tom McCubbin directs a small piece of wood around the blade of a pedal-powered jigsaw, operated by fifth-grader Kattara Dennis.

Hannes Peters, from Hamburg, Germany, volunteered his time and knowledge at one of the stations. Peters is visiting the host family he stayed with when he was an exchange student and decided to spend Tuesday with his host grandfather, Roger Heffelbower, during the educational event.

“I think it is very important for kids to learn to be independent from things like electricity,” Peters said while teaching students how to use different machines to shuck corn from a cob, then grind the kernels.

 

Logan Walde cranks the handle of a machine, which shucks corn kernels from the cob, while Hannes Peters (right) teaches students about the device.

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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