Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Matlak's Marauders

Simulating Valley Forge at ASA Middle School

By Gael Silvestre and 7th Grade 

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, the 7th grade left the middle school after lunch, and we went to the baseball diamond. The fires were there in fire ring parents brought, and there were pancake mix boxes and toilet paper rolls. 

“I enjoyed wearing my captain's hat. I learned about the steps to load a musket. It was hard deciding who to write my letter from Valley Forge to.” - Kalem
We were called up in groups Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. Each group had their own fire ring. I was placed in the Bravo group. The first thing we did was marching in a perfect straight line. It was pretty, hard but I thought it was pretty fun. Our social studies teacher was our commanding officer. We called him Colonel Matlak. I thought it was pretty funny calling him that because i’m so used to him as Mr. Matlak. 

After our marches Colonel Matlak told us to go to our fires. He called up each group to go up learn how to load a musket gun. Obviously we aren't going to use real muskets but instead we each had a big toilet paper roll that had tape on the bottom of it. And for gun powder we had sand and for musket balls we used rocks and the ramrod was a meter stick. We put sand in the roll and put in the rock bullet ball and we went BANG! It was pretty cool Mr. Matlak also told us cool facts about the musket and how to fire as well which was super cool. 

After that we had firecakes and they tasted really bad. They were bland and tasteless but I had 3 for some reason. 

After that it was time to pack up and go back inside. After that we had hot chocolate and it tasted really good. After that is was time to go home and to leave school. And that's the adventure we had at valley forge.

Additional student reflections from the day: 

What was your favorite part about the afternoon: 

  • The drills
  • Getting to make and eat flour cakes
  • Sitting around the fire

What did you learn? 

  • The soldiers at Valley Forge sat through a very cold weather
  • The effects of smallpox on the army 
  • I learned about the women at Valley Forge that aren’t talked about much and their important roles

What was the hardest part of the experience? 

  • Staying warm - the wind was making it much colder, it got hard to write and we kept getting smoke in our eyes 
  • Marching inline and doing push ups 

“I thought it was really fun. And it was really cool hanging out with my friends and camping out with my favorite social studies teacher”

“I liked how Mr. Matlak called everyone private and then their last name.” 

“I loved the experience and would love to help or do it again any time.”

“Honestly, I just had a great time.”

“Next year there should be senior officers helping out.” 

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