Boys in Sixth Grade Present Innovative Solutions to Issues at Valley Forge

By Addeson Lehv '18
On Tuesday, April 11, the boys in the Sixth Grade presented their creative and innovative solutions to issues the troops at Valley Forge faced during their winter in 1777 and 1778.
The project began with a reading of Forge, the second book in The Seeds of America trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson. Then, boys worked in groups of two or three to research a problem, create a bibliography, delineate a solution in writing, and plan/build a prototype. The problems solved ranged from poor insulation in huts and lack of clean water, to hypothermia and disease transmission. Each solution and innovation demonstrated a level of critical thinking as well as a strong understanding of the resources available.
After gaining inspiration from a wilderness expert, the boys began to design and "build," using common materials such as sticks and leaves. One group discovered that the soldiers did not have proper footwear, thus causing them to leave trails of blood marks behind. They created boots using moccasins and sewed them together -- in fact Cosmo said that he "learned sewing." Another group found that there was a shortage of food, so people were malnourished, and hungry. Consequently, they created a variety of different traps to capture animals. They also added a pile of charcoal around the traps to prevent the animals from sensing their human predator.
Besides learning all about Valley Forge and creating solutions for big issues, they learned other skills too. Alex said, "We learned how to work with others and research."
"Very important skills," Braden, his partner, quickly added.
This multi-disciplined STEAM VI project concludes with an overnight trip to Valley Forge, where the sixth graders get to see for themselves where it all happened.

Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.