One school district has found that teaching about local history is a great way to get kids interested in finding out more about the past and relating it to their present day lives.
In the Lake Havasu Unified School District, students in fourth, tenth, and twelfth grades are studying a new hyper-local curriculum integrating different subject areas.
“The kids were really into it,” Zink said, who already has taught one lesson concerning tourism’s role in Havasu’s economy. “They like learning about Lake Havasu City… I think it’s going to have a positive effect because they can get excited about the things they see. They know what I’m talking about because they’ve been there.”
About nine months ago, the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau’s education committee approached the Lake Havasu Unified School District about integrating the city’s history, geography, civics, and economics into the curriculum.
“We’ve been talking about how great our bridge is,” said Doug Traub who is president and CEO of the CVB. “But nobody knows anything about it. So we reached out to schools.”
Three teachers took on summer projects and spearheaded the curriculum’s development: Lake Havasu High School Vice Principal Jaime Festa-Daigle, who was then the social studies department head, developed lessons for sophomores and seniors. At the elementary level, Zink and Jessica Scavuzzo developed a curriculum for fourth graders.
On Thursday, Festa-Daigle unveiled the sophomore and senior lesson plans to LHHS social studies teachers. She is hoping that it will be implemented at some point this semester.
“It prepares students for the real world by helping them connect with the place they live,” Festa-Daigle said.
Sophomores in world history will study a close reading of a history of London Bridge.