In honor of Kansas Day on Tuesday, social studies classes at Great Bend Middle School made edible Kansas maps out of graham crackers and other supplies.
Amanda Vanskike asked her students to refer to Kansas maps and then make their own edible versions. A graham cracker smeared with frosting, minus a bite in the northwest corner to represent the Missouri River, is the perfect starting point. Students added strands of Twizzlers-brand licorice to represent the major rivers and a SweeTart candy to mark the capital. With chocolate chips and fish-shaped crackers, the final map would also show major cities and more.
Even though the activity had children playing with food, the students have been learning a lot. Not only can they locate the state’s major rivers: Missouri, Blue, Smoky Hill, Solomon, Arkansas, Maris des Cygne and Kansas, they can use directional terms, cardinal directions such as north and south, and intermediate directions such as northeast and southwest. They’ve also been learning about latitude, meridians and parallels.
Kansas became a state on Jan. 29, 1861. Kansas Day was first celebrated in 1877 by schoolchildren in Paola, according to the Kansas Historical Society.
Students throughout Kansas had state-themed lessons on Tuesday. In Great Bend, representatives from the Barton County Historical Society visited Jefferson Elementary School and second-grade classes at Lincoln Elementary released balloons with attached notes, in hopes of receiving notes back. Eisenhower Elementary School posted a Kansas Day activity on its Facebook page; fifth graders made butter and played Kansas history bingo.
This is also Spirit Week at Great Bend schools heading into Winter Homecoming on Friday.