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October 26, 2010

"Burkemobile" brings a museum experience into Bellevue classrooms

Burke educators to visit every 4th grade class in Bellevue School District

By the end of November, every 4th grade student in the Bellevue School District will have had the opportunity to closely examine authentic cultural artifacts from the Native peoples of the Northwest Coast and Columbia Plateau regions. The Burke Museum's educational outreach program, known as "Burkemobile," has arranged to visit every 4th grade class in the Bellevue School District this fall to bring hands-on learning into the classroom.

The Burkemobile program delivers high-quality museum experiences to classrooms around the state, helping students to discover what makes Washington unique. Since the program's inception in 2008, Burke educators have traveled as far as Yakima, Vancouver, and Forks to present lessons called "Fossil Forensics,""Living Traditions: Native Peoples of Washington," and "The What-If Ecosystem."

For the second year in a row, the Bellevue School District has arranged for Burkemobile to visit all 16 elementary schools in the district to present the lesson "Living Traditions: Native Peoples of Washington." The hands-on lesson begins with Burke educators leading a group discussion about how environment influences culture, and then the classroom is transformed into four different artifact-filled stations, with real objects such as beaded moccasins, a cooking basket, a drum, and model canoes. Through the exploration of the artifacts, students are introduced to Native traditions that surround fishing, art, storytelling, and the use of natural resources.

Bellevue School District's 4th grade social studies curriculum is supplemented by the experience of interacting with real museum objects. One teacher commented, "The 'Living Traditions' lesson fit perfectly with where I was with instruction. After the Burkemobile visit, my students are better prepared to take their geography assessment."

Other schools interested in working with the Burke Museum to bring Burkemobile to their classroom should contact burked@uw.edu.

(206) 543-9762; FAX (206) 616-1274