Studying history is an interactive activity at Nike Elementary where for the past 19 years, one day each semester is set aside to make Missouri history come alive.

The 123 kindergarten through fifth-grade students invited Robertsville Elementary third- and fourth-graders to take part in Missouri Day Oct. 11.

Eight unique sessions, stationed inside the school and on the grounds, focused on lives of youngsters in pioneer Missouri, including games, songs, toys, honeybees and an American Indian storyteller.

Students also were asked to write a journal about their day trip through Missouri’s past.

Jacob Snyder, a tech-savvy Robertsville fourth-grader, revealed in his journal that he understood that the storyteller was a make-believe character.

Grandma Coyote, a favorite headliner at the annual celebration, was dressed in American Indian dress and moccasins to tell stories about life among the Osage Indians who once occupied this part of Missouri.

“In theory, the storyteller, whose name is Grandma Coyote, is suspicious,” Jacob wrote in his Missouri Day journal. “Because her name is like a username.”

Still, Jacob thought spending a day traveling from class to class to learn about Missouri history had its good side.

“We learned how to get honey,” he wrote. “We learned how to make an old toy and we listened to old songs.”

The songs were performed outside the front lobby throughout the day by a band that called itself Unclouded Day, where Sidney Hollady spent the day stirring huge vats of kettle corn, enough for each student to receive a large bag.

Students munched kettle corn as they sat on hay bales to join the band members — Robert Rector, Mike Baker, Dave Roemer and Ray Jessup — in a sing-along and take part in an old-time version of the hokey pokey.

Organizing this event was a snap for fourth-grade teacher Carol Shoemaker, who grew up on the Schlemper century farm where the family members grew everything they ate and the fields were plowed by the famous Schlemper mules.

The annual history fest offers a way for youngsters to experience history instead of just reading about it, according to Nike principal David Quanz. 

“It gets the kids involved by doing things,” Quanz said.