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Detective Program Transforms Colorado History Lesson

Scholars at Mountain View Academy recently had the chance to investigate the past with a unique history lesson. Third-grade teacher Charlotte Duran teamed up with the Pioneer Museum in Colorado Springs to bring the museum experience to the classroom. It was a day of hands-on learning through the museum’s history detective program.

"The kids just love doing different things rather than the standard curriculum, and I feel like they don't get a lot of opportunities to play with things like the detective program," she remarked.

The program is designed to immerse students in the history of Colorado through three interactive stations.

"They had three different stations — one focused on artifacts, another on early newspapers, and the third on photographs. Each station offered a unique perspective on Colorado history," stated Duran.

Students looking at old pictures.

The museum provided artifacts for the students to connect with historical figures. "They were assigned a specific person and then had to match the artifact to that person using all this information about them, which was really cool," Duran explained.

The young detectives, complete with secret agent names, worked together to decipher the clues.

"They worked in teams, grouped based on high, medium, and low levels. This allowed everyone to have a strong student in their group, helping each other out," she shared.

The students then checked their work using invisible ink, adding even more fun to the detective experience.

Duran shared some of the feedback she received from students. “They liked using the magnifying glasses because they don't get to use them a lot. They also said it was really cool to work with other kids and do something different.”

Students using magnifying glasses on articles.

One of the topics they learned about was why Colorado Springs was so important in the late 1800s for people suffering from tuberculosis. The students were fascinated by the historical diet revealed during the program. "It was a raw diet with raw eggs and milk. They found it crazy that people thought it would help with tuberculosis," Duran stated.

She said the program integrated perfectly with the regular curriculum at Mountain View, which has earned the highest performance ranking in the state. "We were just working on Colorado History, and it supplemented our lessons. It's a fun activity that aligns with our standards," Duran explained.  

She said it was a memorable experience for students that she plans to repeat next year. “It was free. They only wanted a two-dollar donation per child," she shared, emphasizing the accessibility of the program.

Congratulations on discovering a fun way to get students interested in history!
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About Mountain View Academy
Mountain View Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Colorado Springs, Colorado, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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