Hanover students take a trip back in time to the Renaissance - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Hanover students take a trip back in time to the Renaissance

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Richmond Middle School students in Hanover, New Hampshire are taking a journey back in time.

There are about 400 students from both New Hampshire and Vermont. The sixth through eighth grade school has 90 faculty and staff with an annual budget of $6.5 million.

There's a festival underway in Hanover at the Richmond Middle School. A two-day Renaissance Festival. The culmination of two weeks of classes.

"It was a period of time in Europe from the 1500s to the 1600s that sparked a lot of new ideas. And one of the idea was humanism," says eighth grader Romaney Granizo-Mackenzie.

A shift in thinking, centuries ago, focused on the arts and science. And, what better way to learn about something than by experiencing it?

"During the Renaissance, people went outside their comfort zone and discovered new things," Granzio-Mackenzie says.

In this 21st century learning style, the kids are doing the same. Whether it making food of the time period, working with the weapons of the day, or learning about the plague that crippled communities.

"We found out that the earth was not the center of our solar system. We know that the sun is now. If the Renaissance didn't happen, we wouldn't know about that," says eighth grader Lestyn Williams.

It's an inter-disciplinary approach to education that's sparking the kids' imaginations while immersing them in the subject.

"How art and science became really really popular people start writing and reading and technology started blossoming," Williams says.

Educators say, like the period, the students themselves are blossoming by becoming the material they are studying.

"The more we can engage their imagination, the more we can set an example of having fun as we learn and making academics not only just as something you have to do but something you want to do and something is really rewarding and fun is a good thing," says art teacher Luke Eastman.

Making connections across the curriculum is something RMS strives for in every grade.

"One of the best ways to do that is to give them an experience. Whether it's our eighth grade Renaissance Festival, our seventh grade Civil War soldier project, sixth grade exploration of the brain about how I think and how I learn, we really try to make those lasting memories and connections to the content for the kids," says principal Michael Lepene.

And that content is passed on to future students, like the stained glass that will eventually hang on the windows in the school's main lobby.

"Its showing you what happened. When you are reading you have your own visual image of what's going on. When you are actually looking at everything, you see what is really going on instead of having your own picture," Williams says.

"I think if we are just learning things and reading things and writing about things and taking notes, I think we don't really observe it and take it into our minds. I think if we actually do it and work with it and having fun with it w are going to remember it more and say oh that was the Renaissance Fest. I can tell you all about that," says Granzio-Mackensie.

A hands-on approach students and educators say is right on target.

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