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Portable Education Program (PEP)

It’s history in a box. It’s the past on wheels. It’s PEP, our new Portable Education Program.

The Museum now offers to US educators three Portable Education Programs about Colonial America life for fourth grade classrooms. Each PEP focuses on two aspects of 18th century life that both students and teachers explore through hands-on object-based learning. Our new PEPs are: Food and Clothing, Money and Jobs, and School and Play.

PEP is developed for fourth grade and aligned with national standards. Each PEP contains five lesson plans and accompanying objects. 

PEP: Food & Clothing

We all need to eat and wear clothes. People in the 18th century did, too... but, their food and clothing were a bit different from ours! Can you follow Colonial table manners? Identify the ingredients used in cooking? Figure out the math involved in a recipe?  You could even try a recipe from a Colonial cookbook!

Your dress at the dinner table is important, too. Discover the types of clothing people wore, and explore the process by which raw fibers are turned into cloth. Try your hand at identifying silk, wool, linen, and cotton. Learn important 18th century skills: brushing, spinning, and weaving wool into useful cloth.

PEP: Money & Jobs

Can you tell a shilling from a bit, or a guinea from a ha'penny? Money in Colonial America came from many different countries, and colonists, who used different monetary systems, had to be adept at arithmetic. Practice your arithmetic using shillings and pence, and figure out fractions with a Spanish dollar.

Then, put your monetary skills to good use when you explore the different jobs people did in 18th century America. Will you be a blacksmith? A weaver? A farmer? Discover the materials these workers used, and how each job was important.

PEP: School & Play

Dive into the world of an 18th century scholar. Children of Colonial America were not taught in the kind of schools like the kind children attend today. Examine writing instruments of the time, and use slates to work out your arithmetic and writing lessons. And, no proper colonial education is complete without music: tap your feet to the popular dance steps of the day, or lift your voice in song.

Then, have recess...Colonial-style! This program includes many games and toys enjoyed by children of the 18th century. See if you can succeed at quoits, try card and dice games, and read the stories that amused children and adults alike during the early years of our country.

PEP Case

Each PEP comes in an easy-to-maneuver hard plastic case (18” W x 17” H) with an extended handle and wheels. And, each PEP weighs a manageable 25 to 30 pounds. PEP is available for a two-week rental to any US classroom. More information is available here.

To book your PEP, email museum@dar.org with 1) your PEP choice; 2) your name, mailing address, phone number, and name of school (if applicable); and 3) the arrival date for your PEP. Please have backup date(s) should there be no availability for your initial request.