Monday, October 11, 2010

History in 3D

Home from work, I strolled by the front window on the way to my den office, and glimpsed something you don't see every day - a 1969 British tank. With an impish grin, my neighbor Pat said in his delightful accent, "It's England's answer to road rage." Actually, he and his son have had this restoration project going for five years, and the tank is officially ready for shows, parades, and a trip to the neighborhood.

Pat's grandson and a friend had a grand time in the turret position. It got me thinking about how to get young folks to read - history in 3D. Now, I have no idea, but I would guess that this project incited some interest in British history and the role of this tank in wars. Whether fiction or non-fiction, I bet there's some grand stories behind this solid piece of machinery.

As a youth in Pennsylvania, my family had lots of daytrips to historical sights. The trips then piqued my interest and I went through a Revolutionary War phase, a Civil War phase, etc. Whether it was Johnny Tremaine or Gone With the Wind, I devoured historical fiction. Hands on experiences kick-start the imagination and bring words on the pages to life.

Education is intertwined - history, English, social studies, science (i.e. the mechanics behind this mammoth beast and its Rolls Royce pistons). If nothing else, these young men are also working on their social skills. Pat said they stopped at a red light, and had time to flirt with some young ladies. They are already asking, "May we drive it to prom?"


  1. That would be a jolt seeing a tank through the living room window. Brought to mind the many times we used to see military convoys when I was a little girl. Haven't seen one in decades though. You're right about education being intertwined. History came alive for me when I started reading historical fiction, which led me to non-fiction.

    Good post!

  2. Something like this, I would think, would pique interest in its history.

    My niece got a ride to the prom in her boyfriend's father's firetruck. It was a hit.

  3. You've got your own little museum outside your window.