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Learning About Upton First Hand

Memorial 3rd grade students participating in a mock Town Meeting at the Upton Town Hall

Students were immersed in Upton's history and political processes when Memorial School's 3rd grade class participated in an interactive trip to the Town Hall and the Historical Society on May 25.

As part of their curriculum on learning about local government, students took a field trip to Upton's Town Hall, Town Library, and the Historical Society. The entire group first participated in a "mock" Town Meeting where they were able to debate two issues; whether or not the school day should be extended, and whether or not there should be a ban on all electronic devices such as cell phones and ipods on busses and school grounds. Before a student "Board of Selectmen", both motions were made and seconded, and the children then had the opportunity to voice their opinions. Students were very articulate and respectful of their classmates as they came up to the microphone to debate the issues at hand. They then voted and the motion to extend the school day was defeated with a resounding "No" vote, and the ban on electronics was passed, 40 to 19.

Once the Town Meeting was concluded, students broke up into groups and moved through different stations including the Selectmen's Office where they learned about the decisions the Selectmen are tasked with making, as well as the day to day responsibilities of the Town Manager. In the Town Clerk's Office, they learned about all of the town information that is collected including voter registration forms, dog licenses and birth certificates; and in the Tax Collector's Office, the students had a chance to read a tax bill and used play money to "pay" their bill.

Students also walked over to the Upton Historical Society where they learned more about the town though a tour of the building, and viewing artifacts and pictures important to the community's history. The groups were also able to tour the Upton Town Library and learn about the summer reading program. The students rounded out their day with a fun game of Uptonopoly and a picnic lunch.

Teachers hope that this trip, which they have been doing since 2005, will allow students not only to learn about how town meetings and the democratic process works, but also about the town's history in order to foster a sense of belonging within their community.

Memorial students playing Uptonopoly in front of the Upton Historical Society


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