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Past Meets Present, Care of Seoul Foreign School

By Sarah Carpenter

How can we make learning meaningful and relevant? How do we link the past with the present? The Underwood Memorial Hall blog is an excellent example of the integrated curricular approach used at Seoul Foreign School.
Social studies, research skills, language arts, and technology were all used in meaningful ways by elementary students as they worked over several months to connect their learning with the local community.
With the support of their teacher, Grade 4 students recognized a need at the nearby Underwood Memorial Hall Museum on the Yonsei University campus in Seoul, South Korea. The Museum houses important artifacts, and is itself an historical building.
However, there was very little information available about the displays or history of the family who used to live there. So the students teamed up with the Museum and worked to extend the visitor experience through the use of QR codes that take users to a created website containing stories, photos, and multimedia snippets.
In order to complete the project, students visited the Underwood Memorial Hall to look at the artifacts. They then researched the history of the Underwood family and the contributions that they made to Korea. Students used print media and Skype interviews with several Underwood family members (both aged in their 80s) to learn more about what life was like in Korea in the early days. They compiled stories and information about life in the house, some of the artifacts on display, and the different Underwood personalities who contributed to life in Korea.
Four generations of the Underwood family have served in Korea, making important contributions in the field of medicine, education, and public service. The Underwood Memorial Museum was formerly the residence of the Underwood family for multiple generations. It survived the Korean War (albeit now as a single storied house instead of two storied) and is now a museum well worth a visit, with many interesting artifacts and supporting information, thanks to an enthusiastic group of elementary students and their teacher.

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