Friday, June 10, 2005

What ARE They Teaching Our Children?

In Lake Placid, NY, an elementary-school lesson in history turned into an explosive demonstration yesterday. According staff writer Ned P. Rauch of the area newspaper, the Press Republican:
During an in-class demonstration about backcountry living in the 1800s, a powder horn containing black gunpowder caught fire and exploded as a retired forest ranger tried to show students how to build a fire without matches.

The fifth-grade class filled with smoke, and the entire school was evacuated to the nearby Olympic Training Center.

No students were seriously injured, but Gary Hodgson, the man giving the demonstration, was burned on his face, hands, chest and elsewhere on his body.

The injured man is generally respected in the Lake Placid area as a go-to guy on outdoors topics. For years, he has been giving schoolchildren these demonstrations of life on the 19th century American frontier.

Yesterday, he was having a problem making a fire with a bow and arrow, and thought adding a little gun-powder from a firehorn would help.

Apparently, he was closer to success with his friction fire-building efforts than he thought—as he added the black powder, it flared up, a spark jumped from the demonstration tinder back into the firehorn, and the horn's contents exploded.
The horn shattered, and one student was struck in the head with the butt of the horn, Monroe said, leaving the student with "a little welt"... Emergency-response crews from around the area responded to the 9:27 a.m. call that an explosion had occurred at the school.

As for future demonstrations about daily life on the frontier, [Superintendent Ernest] Stretton said, "We’re going to revisit the process.... We are going to be doing some tweaking."

Nothing like an incendiary teacher to get the little kids all fired up!


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