Dickson Upper Elementary went back in time Friday, as fifth-grade students participated in the Annual Colonial Day.

Each student dressed in period clothing and demonstrated a colonial occupation or task.

"Kids can have a hands-on experience of what it was actually like to live back then and the hardships the colonists had to go through," said Teacher Jennifer Day. "They'll get more appreciation of how we live today and the technology we have available in this time period."

Other activities have included making quilts, churning butter as a class and having indentured servitude trials. They also played Fear Factor Jamestown, with teachers offering students food named "rat meat" and "hominy porridge."

"I tried to make it as gross as I could, but they ate it," said Teacher Shelley Clements.

All the studying of the colonial period culminated with the occupation fair Friday.

Students found that the style of dress worn in the 17th century isn't too bad, but does have some disadvantages.
"In the winter I'd wear it," Eli Hunter said. "In summer, I would wear buckle shoes, linen socks, knickers and a straw hat to block the sun and the vest. The rest would be too hot."

They also realized that some jobs haven't changed too much over time.

For example, teachers still teach students to read and do math.

"I don't know which is better. I just like that they work with kids," Kiva Berry said.

However, the invention of the pen revolutionized the occupation for some students.

"I like a pen because you wouldn't want to dip it all the time and it's hard," Deija Bond said.

In contrast, Landyn Stella made peanut soup in a crock pot, but doesn't think that was much different than the colonists.

"It's going to cook at the same speed with a slow fire," he said.

Other occupations have been changed drastically by technological improvements.

"I'd rather have a tractor because it ain't really hard work because you just sit all day," said Charles O'Dell, a farmer.
However, activities like fishing have good and bad elements.

"The poles are harder to reel in, but they had a lot more fish," James Caldwell said.

Blacksmithing was a popular occupation for many reasons.

"The blacksmith is an important man because they made armor and swords and hoseshoes," Cameron McCord said.
There were also whitesmiths (tin and pewter), tanners, potters, brickmakers, farriers, coopers (wooden vessels), carpenters and gunsmiths. Students were quick to defend their chosen occupation.

"Whitesmiths make everyday items like tin trays and candlesticks. Tin is easier and safer (than iron)," Ralph Murphy said.

"Tanner is a more fun job than the others because you work with hammers. Other jobs are back-breaking, while I get to sit down and work," Landon Taube said.

The hands-on nature of these jobs appealed to many of the students. There were many benefits to completing a craft versus buying the object at a store like one would today.

"In factories, you don't get to enjoy the process and actually complete a gun," said Chase Hightower, a gunsmith.
Hunter Gray has actually worked on gunsmithing projects with his father.

"It's less expensive, and I like making guns," he said.

Blaise Peery learned about a field he hopes to be in — newspaper printing. He created his own model printing press. For Peery, the hardest part would be spelling the words backwards in order to set the type face.

"I like that we can type it up on a computer and it's a lot shorter process," he said.

Other jobs included milliner (women's clothing maker), candle maker and apothecary.

"I like sewing because instead of going to the store and spending money, you can make your own," said Savannah Hunley, a milliner.

Students also showed how to make soap, baskets, candles and cornhusk dolls.

"It's harder to make soap, but if you make your own, you can add your own smells," Cole Hawkins said.

However, there is a difference between activities that colonists had to do and the 21st century students who do them as hobbies.

"It's hard because you have to gather everything and when it's done, you have to make it again," said Elia Castellon, who made soap.