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Gallery + Classroom Program: Engineering a Fair

Dates Available: All school year

Grade Level: K–5th

Minimum Number of Students: 25 students

Maximum Number of Students: 60 students

Gallery Visited:   The 1904 World's Fair: Looking Back at Looking Forward

Program Duration: 2 hours

Where and how do history and science intersect? In this innovative program, students will use the critical thinking skills of historians and scientists as they learn about and solve the challenges of the 1904 World’s Fair, including planning and water purification.

In the Gallery
What did it take to turn Forest Park into the 1904 World’s Fair? What steps did the Fair's planners have to take to ensure its success, and what challenges did they face while building the Fair? How did diverse visitors experience the Fair? Through participatory activities and conversations, students will be immersed in all aspects of the Fair as they learn through the lens of scientists, planners, and historians:

  • At Stop 1 students will become the planners of the 1904 World’s Fair. They'll compare and contrast Forest Park before and during the Fair. Then they'll use primary sources to analyze and sequence the steps it took to organize and build the Fair. 
  • At Stop 2 students will become historians studying what the Fair was like for various visitors. By using artifacts as sources, they'll consider the multiple points of view visitors would have had at the Fair and come up with new questions to investigate.

Please note that the above stops may not occur in chronological order. Also, portions of each stop may be cut out if your group arrives late. Finally, past versions of this program included an outdoor walking tour of Forest Park; this current version doesn't include the outdoor portion but does visit both sections of the 1904 World's Fair gallery.

In the Classroom
Students will get the chance to conduct a hands-on, STEM-based experiment that directly relates to one of the challenges faced by Fair engineers—cleaning St. Louis’s dirty water! Students will learn about the water-filtration process and why this was a critical challenge for Fair designers to overcome. Then they'll work in teams to make hypotheses, build their own water filters, and assess their work.

Please note that portions of the activity may be cut out if your group arrives late.

 Please read our K-12 Policiesbefore booking this program. 

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Critical Thinking
Regardless of which field-trip experience you choose, all of our K–12 programs are designed to emphasize the critical thinking skills students use at museums, in the classroom, and as lifelong learners. Each one facilitates experiences in which learners can individually and collaboratively use Museum spaces, objects, and content to:

  • compare and contrast the past and the present
  • make connections between the people, places, and stories of history and their own experiences
  • comprehend and evaluate multiple perspectives and past choices
  • express and support their personal views on history

Here are some Pre-Visit Activities and other resources.

What Are Teachers Saying About This Program?
"Kids LOVED the water-filtration project!"

"I felt that this was one of the best field trips that I have taken my class on."

"The water-filtering activity was a great success!"

"It was beneficial that the kids were able to do an activity with the guided tour. They were all familiar with the engineering process that helped them when they worked on filtering the water."

"I thought the guided tour was excellent."

"Very interactive and informative."

"I loved the water-purifying experiment. Hands-on, engaging, creativity, higher-level thinking!"

Program Modifications
We understand that many factors may cause your bus to be late. However, due to other group reservations and the schedules of our museum educators, we can't extend the length of your visit past your reservation time.

If you arrive late, we'll still do our best to deliver the program you reserved. However, modifications may be necessary depending on your arrival time. (NOTE: Excessively late groups can expect significant program changes.)

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