Shoe Project, Swampscott

Swampscott Middle School teachers Lindsay Hodgson and Karen Reback worked with the Lynn Museum and Historical Society to implement “Take a Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes” ~ A Study of the Greater Lynn Shoe Industry from the 17th - 20th Century. 

Over 100 Swampscott 5th graders learned about the regional shoe manufacturing history from pre-colonial to present day, a trade that has and continues to influence economics, natural resources and the cultural heritage of our area. As they learned, the students also served their community by creating resources for other teachers and students in local schools to help facilitate the teaching of this local history.

 During the course of their project, students dove into the shoe industry from multiple points of view, learning about shoes worn in different time periods, cultures, and places that aligned with the fifth grade social studies curriculum by writing “diary entries” of a day in the life of a person living in the place and time and the shoes that were worn.  In economics-related activities, each student designed, priced and marketed a “shoe of the future,” and also interviewed a representative of a current-day local shoe manufacturer, New Balance. They culminated their learning with an in-depth study of the regional shoe industry through artifact analysis and experiential learning at the Lynn Museum and Historical Society. 

The students’ work was not just for their teachers or for a grade, but will be used by the wider community as other teachers and students benefit from the curriculum they helped to develop.