Paul Mazzuca has been teaching Social Studies at Stevenson for more than 20 years, but none have started quite like this one. With first semester of the 2020-21 academic year happening in the Remote Learning+ environment, Mazzuca jumped at the chance to give his students a first-hand look at American history.
Students in his AP United States History and Collaborative United States History courses were surprised to find Mazzuca on the Freedom Trail in Boston when they logged in for class on Sept. 14.
“I figured this was an opportunity to enhance their understanding and appreciation for what we are learning in class and from the text, while also making connections to current times,” he said. “With the technology available, all I needed to do was hop in my car for 15 hours and go.”
At the beginning of the semester, he live-streamed four classes a day from important American Revolution sites including virtual visits to the site of the Boston Massacre and the Old State House, where Bostonians first heard the Declaration of Independence. On another day, htaught his classes in the Old South Meeting House from the very pulpit where Sam Adams and John Hancock organized the Tea Party in 1773.
He then made his way down to Philadelphia where students took a virtual tour of Independence Mall, a three-block section of Independence National Historical Park. Highlights included a visit to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written, and a stop at the Liberty Bell.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to provide my students with this type of learning experience,” Mazucca shared. “The students appreciated and valued seeing the sites from the text. It gave them a whole different perspective on the material.”