While this alliterative phrase may have been used 500 years ago by the likes of Columbus, Da Gama, and Pizarro, Mrs. Victoria Marcy is finding new ways to make them relevant in history class today. Marcy is currently a world history teacher at Grafton High School in York County. She is always deliberate in her attempt to incorporate unique and authentic learning experiences for her students. These projects have ranged from a mock trial of Brutus to gingerbread houses formed into historical landmarks to most recently an exploratory scavenger hunt through the school to bring back riches to impress the Queen.
Mrs. Marcy wanted to create a meaningful way for students to understand the motivations and the rewards of early European explorers as well as the monarchs who sent them. In this activity, groups of students were given 15 minutes to explore the school grounds and come back with trade goods that would impress the Queen and bring glory to the empire of World History I. Points were doled out in accordance to the determined value and converted to extra credit points. Students were rewarded for creativity, ingenuity, and loyalty. They had to get a pre-approved route to begin their journey and it was expected for them to convert fellow students to the splendor of history. Progress was recorded on a map and they had to complete a Captain’s Log of their journey.
At the end, students reveled in their glory and the bounty they brought to the empire. The highest glorious honors were reserved for those that brought back the best loot. Motivation and greater understanding of the explorers and their actions resulted from the students participating in this activity.
Written by: VCSS Area Rep Meridith Breen,
US History Teacher at Yorktown Middle School
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