LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - The clock turned back to the 1800's in Kilgore, Thursday, to provide a unique learning experience for hundreds of East Texas school kids. From authentic frontier songs, to the thousand-year-old traditional dances of native Americans, Kilgore City Park was transformed into the 1800's in Texas - a living history book.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for our kids to grasp some of the things we've covered in class from the beginning of Texas history right up into the present," said Quitman seventh grade history teacher, Crystal Ballard.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Spring Hill seventh grader, Brittani Hooper. "From just the little that we know that we learned today, I've really learned a lot about native Americans"
Organized by Region 7, Texas historians educated the kids on how life was in the old west, and how things like math still applied in everything from blacksmithing to making their own clothes.
"I learned how blacksmithing is really important," said Winona seventh grader Hunter Green. "I didn't realize it was that important and how math played a big part in blacksmithing."
"The kids learn Texas history in fourth grade and seventh grade and that's all they have, and this is a way for the kids to learn first hand and what some of the lost art of Texas history is, and the kids learn better when they have hands on learning," said Region 7 social studies specialist, Sherry Hood.
There were things books could not teach - a chance to see what it would have been like to be a part of those eras.
"It's very authentic and very well put together," said Ballard. "Many of them are asking questions; some of which in the classroom they may not feel that they can. But, right here, they're really wanting to learn and feel like they're taking a step back in history."
"Usually it's pretty boring, and I want to go to sleep," said Green. "But, out here it's not quite as boring. [It's] pretty fun!"
Over 650 students from nine different East Texas school districts attended Thursday's event.