Fort Project

J Sperling

IMG 4063Townshend, VT - In Mr. Sperling’s eighth grade history class students were given the task of creating a scale model of a French and Indian War era fort.  First students were asked to imagine they were part of an English frontier settlement in Massachusetts that suffered an attack similar to the one that occurred in Deerfield in 1704.  As refugees, students were first asked to select a site in the West River Valley that was defensible while containing the necessary resources.  Next, they were asked to draw plans for a fort appropriate in size for about 60 settlers.  Two of the plans were chosen and each student was assigned a piece of the fort to construct.  For this part of the project, the class was lucky enough to have access to the knowledge of Ben Nicholson, a para-educator here at the school who was the head builder of the meetinghouse at Plimoth Plantation in 1986.

The main purpose of the project was to give students the rare opportunity to build something from scratch using techniques from a time where everything was built from scratch.  This is the third year this project took place and the structures were of the highest quality to date.  Many students who had no previous experience in woodworking rose to the challenge to create post and beam building models, fences and stockades.  Most of the work was done with little or no assistance from parents.   Ben and Mr. Sperling are very proud of the participants.