A field trip a week – Week 1 – part 1

This summer we are going to do a field trip a week.  I decided to make this summer an unschooling summer.  We are going to try and learn as much about the civil war…history in general…as we can by visiting local sites.  One benefit of living in the south, you can always find a battlefield.

I may throw in a few crafts and a couple of worksheets for reinforcement purposes.  Scholastic Books had a $1.00 day sale that I took advantage.  I found plays about the presidents, the civil war, and a craft book that covered the many different periods.

Our first one was to a Mill called Falls Mill.  It is in a small town in Belvidere, Tn.  It was absolutely stunning.  The nice thing is it is a working mill.  They are still producing custom ground grains for people across the nation.  The day we were there, they were cracking corn for one of the local whiskey distilleries.  This kinda of amazes me…the county is dry, but they have one of major whiskey distilleries in the nation.  All I can say is go figure.

The mill was build in 1873 has a cotton and woolen factory. It has since become a cotton gin, a word working shop, and finally a mill.

IMG_4973We started the tour at the falls that provide the water to power the Mill.  Just down the road, you can see the remains of a gristmill that also took advantage of the the falls.



Next was the proprietors house, which is an stagecoach house that has been move and refurbished to this site.  It was initially going to be a bed and breakfast, but after 8 long years they decided to just call it home instead.


Once we explored the outside, it was time to check out the inside.  The squirts had spent the school year studying “Fun with Physics”.  One area they really concentrated on was simple machines.   Besides the history of the mill, there is no better place to see simple machines in action.



You can see the belts, pulleys, wheels, axels, and gears hard at work.   You can also see why the mills were an extremely dangerous place to work!

IMG_4934The tour guide/owner/jack of all trades gave us a brief discussion on the how the mill stones work and the evolution of flour making.



The jars show you the grain they start with and how the end product looks after processing.



Some of the different hand grinding tools used before the big powerful mills were in operation.



Here is the current grinder had at work.

IMG_4951The grain is gathered up and then sent to an area where they bag it up.

How’s this for a simple machine…its a close up of the wheel.



The wheel was shipped from out east and took a couple of months to assemble.  It was amazing how big it was.  She gave us the dimensions but I have since forgotten them.



This was an illustration they had that explained how the wheel worked.  The Mill pond is the area in front of the water fall.  It is pretty amazing.



More simple machines…you can’t beat a field trip that does it all history and science.



This is the other owner of the Mill hard at work.  They use this printing press to print their logo on the bags they they use.

The kids loved it.  The next edition will be the history of the woolen business.  The owners were pretty amazing.  They had a wealth of information presented in a way that it kept the kids attention.

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One Response to A field trip a week – Week 1 – part 1

  1. Cathy says:

    wow – that sounds like such fun! I like the idea of picking a theme for the field trips. Ours are scattered all over.

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