“Perception Verses Reality” was the theme for the Multicultural Night held at Mechanicsville Elementary School on February 4, 2016. Five senior interns worked with the Multicultural Committee to provide a fun-filled night that allowed students and parents to learn more about historical figures and how our perception of these figures may not always be the reality.  

Amber Cook led activities that educated the students about Helen Keller and allowed students to see that Helen was not the uneducated ignorant person that many people believed she was. In reality, she was highly intelligent and eager to learn. The students were given two colors, yellow and blue, and asked to paint a yellow sun and a blue cloud while blindfolded. ​ According to Amber, “It was a wonderful teachable moment because currently at Mechanicsville Elementary there are two visually impaired students. The visually impaired students were able to share their experiences with the class, especially about their use of Braille.”

Kelly McKenzie explored the perceived and true facts about Benjamin Franklin. The perception in this lesson was that some people may believe Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity, but in reality he just understood complex concepts about electricity that were previously not understood. Students then created kites listing true facts about Ben Franklin.

Kelly McKenzie and Laura Carey

In Lauren Legnaioli’s room, students listened to a story and compared facts about Pocahontas to their perception of her based on their familiarity with the Disney movie Pocahontas. After the story and discussion, Lauren talked about Pocahontas’s native language and compared her alphabet to our alphabet. Students then made tribal headbands with their names written on them in Pocahontas’s native language.

Judy Hemler taught students about the life of Muhammad Gandhi. Students learned that he was actually a peaceful man who wanted everyone to get along. Because of this, he really put an emphasis on the “hear no evil, speak no evil, and see no evil” monkeys. The students were then able to create their own tactile peaceful monkey.

Lastly, Laura Carey focused on Martin Luther King Jr. He was an influential African-American who made many positive changes in society. Through an experiment with brown and blue eggs, students understood the concept of how people look different on the outside, but everyone is the same on the inside.

Overall, it was a wonderful night with a great turnout!

(Submitted by the Mechanicsville Elementary Interns)