Dickson Upper Elementary School took a trip through the 16th century Friday.
Colonial Day, an annual event, gives fifth grade kids a chance to dress up in costumes and do the teaching as part of their lessons about colonial America. Kids picked their preferred colonial vocation, made posters, prepared props and costumes for the big day and teach roaming third and fourth graders about everything from candle making to baking.
Jennifer Day, a fifth grade teacher, said the school has held the event for the past several years.
“Mainly we do this so the kids have more research on the 1600s and 1700s,” Day said. “We do it as they’re studying the 13 colonies so they can have an idea of what kinds of trades people did back then.”
Students started working on their projects on October 31 and had until this week to prepare to take on the roles of blacksmiths, apothecaries, carpenters and a few trades that are pretty unfamiliar to us now.
“A ‘Cooper’ is a barrel maker,” Day said. “There’s all kinds of trades that they had to research.”
Day’s costume, a period-accurate dress and apron, came from a trip to Colonial Williamsburg specifically meant for teachers. Another Dickson teacher went on the same trip and brought back the idea for Colonial Day.
“We spent a week out there to learn more about the Colonial time period,” Day said. “We’ve just carried on the tradition because in social studies, that’s the period we study.”
Kids who chose to be bakers prepared baked goods for the occasion. Some are fully committed to historical accuracy with period-accurate recipes like homemade bread, butter and sugar cakes. At other stations, kids used crock pots full of wax to make their own candles.
Logan Meyer made a display about military life in the colonies. He demonstrated standing at attention, making sure to tell students not to lock their knees so they don’t pass out. Meyer said when his class was learning about the time period, the topic fascinated him.
 “They were the first line of defense against the British army, and when they weren’t fighting, they played games,” Meyer said, gesturing to a display about how soldiers played cards to pass the time. “How much money and land you got depended on what rank you were.”
At Abbey Jones’ schoolteacher display, students got a chance to try to write their names with a quill and ink. She said most of them struggled to do so.
“The only reason the teachers teach is so the kids can write their bible verses,” Jones said. “It’s interesting, how they made horn books and stuff.”
Horn books were workbooks students would use to practice writing.
Avery Fuller said she loves horses, which led her to choose harness making as her trade. Her display included scraps of leather from projects and a real saddle she uses to ride.
 “If you want to be a harness maker, you have to do 8,000 hours of training,” Fuller said. “They are skilled with blades and sewing needles. I really like horses and working in shops, so it just came to me.”