Posted by: csdailyblog | November 8, 2010

Students Saw Their Way through Wisconsin History and Literature

Alex, Katie, Kaydee, Kira, Erica, and Kayla take turns with a two-person handsaw after reading about Wisconsin history and handsaws in Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac.

Jeff Rennicke, Conserve School English Teacher, contributed the photograph above along with the  following post about activities in his English class and Michael Salat’s history class:

The concept was interdisciplinary and experiential. In History, Michael was discussing the local logging history, the Peshtigo Fire, and wanting students to get a bit of hands-on experience with some of the traditional tools of the trade.  In English, we were discussing Aldo Leopold and A Sand County Almanac. In his essay “The Good Oak” Leopold uses the idea of cutting through the growth rings of an 80 year old lightning-struck oak tree to give us a backwards timeline of Wisconsin environmental history. He then discusses using different tools, such as the axe, the wedge, and the maul, to cut through the years in different ways.

So, we took the students outside and gave them a chance to try a two-person saw (as they are doing in the picture) and then give splitting the wood a try using a maul.

Hopefully, feeling the heft of the axe, smelling the sawdust, hearing the zing of the blade, helped the students get a better feel for the way logging and the renewable resource of trees have played such a large role in northern Wisconsin history and literature.

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