Teachers' Choice Award & the Geography Fair 2019


Every year, Lewie participates in our elementary school's academic fair.  The subjects rotate.  In first grade, it was a geography fair; in second grade, a science fair; in third grade, a history fair, and this year, it was a geography fair again.  (I'll admit that I enjoy the geography and history fairs the best.)

This year, Lewie chose to do his project on the Grand Canyon.  At first, I tried discouraging him: "Lewie, why do it on the Grand Canyon when you've already been there?  Don't you want to do research on a new place, like Yellowstone National Park?"  (We're planning on going there this summer.)

He thought about it for two seconds and replied, "Nope.  I want to do it on the Grand Canyon."  At that point, I gave up trying to convince him otherwise, and we became a team.  Using our state's inter-library loan service, we were able to take out four books on the Grand Canyon (from multiple libraries), and we spent our weeks reading them.  Each book, it seemed, focused on a different topic.  One spoke more about the history of the rock layers, another about the wildlife, and still another about human civilization.  Even though we went there in 2017, we quickly discovered there was still so much to learn!

For me, the biggest takeaways were about the rock layers and the history of the park.  The rock layers at the bottom of the canyon are close to two billion years old.  There's evidence through fossils that the canyon was covered by water several times.  Humans didn't start living in the canyon until 12,000 years ago.  There are pictographs in several areas, which demonstrate this fact.  We even saw them on our trip years ago.

In  1919, President Woodrow Wilson made the Grand Canyon into the Nation's Fifteenth National Park.  (This is after President Theodore Roosevelt made it a National Monument in 1908.)  The canyon had to be protected as sites were getting ruined by excavating and mining.  Still others, like the Fred Harvey Company, were purchasing land to be used for tourism.  If the Canyon didn't become a park, it ran the risk of getting bought up by people in the mining and tourist industries.

Here is the El Tovar Hotel, built from 1902-1905, by the Fred Harvey Company. The hotel is located by the Grand Canyon Railroad Station, a train that was built to bring hundreds if not thousands of tourists to the Canyon everyday.  It's interesting to learn that President Theodore Roosevelt didn't want the hotel; it was built before Roosevelt could declare the place a National Monument.  (We had lunch there on our trip; it was great to learn the history.)
If you ask Lewie about his favorite part of this project, he will say learning about the wildlife.  He also enjoyed going through our pictures from 2017. (We used about eight of them on the board, and some of them are now in this blog post.)  Here's a few of our favorites:

The Grand Canyon Railway has been in existence for over 100 years!  (Obviously they have newer trains today and not the steam locomotives from the late 1800's.)

Hubby getting too close to the edge!

The Elk we saw on our walk that stopped to get a 'selfie.'

As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project with Little Lewie, and in the end, he was right.  The Grand Canyon was perfect for the Geography Fair.  His passion must have came out because Little Lewie won the Teacher's Choice Award for Forth Grade.  (There was a winner in each grade.)  Lewie was so excited that he stood on stage speaking to the teachers for a minute.  One of my parent friends joked with me:  "I thought he was going to give an acceptance speech."

I gloated, "Me too."  (Evidently, Lewie felt it was necessary to let the teachers know how happy this made him.)

There's no doubt Lewie's award made me a proud mama.  I'm glad our first National Park trip inspired such an interest in nature, preservation, and wildlife.  This project only motivates me to plan more of these trips.  Yellowstone, here we come (in June)!


  1. A geography fair is such a fun idea. Our school used to do an International fair in 2nd grade, but they stopped it before Simon got to do it! Great job, Lewie! Gabbie really wants to go to the Grand Canyon this summer. Dave and I have been there but the kids haven't!

    1. It sounds like you may have a Grand Canyon trip in the near future. After reading the books, I want to go back!

  2. That is so wonderful! The trip definitely had an impact! He looks so proud! Annster's Domain

    1. Thank you; he was so happy to see his hard work pay off. Me too!


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