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PAA Students Experience U.S. History Project Based Learning

From being a part of a mock-Boston Tea Party, to spending a day experiencing life as a colonial American, and even conducting Supreme Court simulations, 18 PAA sophomores and juniors experienced Project Based Learning at its best during our U.S. History summer course.

Some students are calling it the four most intense weeks of school, ever! That’s because they managed to complete a year’s worth of U.S. History in less than a month. Our students spent the first two-weeks in the classroom with Mr. Kootsey. A hefty pile of nightly homework kept them quite busy each afternoon and evening. Following it up were two weeks of interactive and up-close investigations at historical sites along the east coast.

Beginning their time in Boston, students toured Revolutionary War era sites like the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord, as well as the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Perfectly timed to celebrate our country’s freedom, they were treated with fireworks for Independence Day over the Boston Harbor.

In New York City, students toured Revolutionary War sites, the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and enjoyed a Broadway musical at the historic Majestic Theater. They visited important sites like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the United Nations, and much more.

“The United Nations was one of my favorite stops on the trip,” says Ben Krueger-Blehm, PAA Junior. “I’ve always been fascinated with the United Nations and then when I finally got to see it in person it was amazing. We had done a model U.N. event at PAA last year so seeing the Security Council was especially interesting.”

Their time in Philadelphia took students to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall before they headed south to experience Fort McHenry, Gettysburg, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and more.

Finally in Washington D.C. students visited the U.S. Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, the White House, the Pentagon, and even got to visit with Oregon State Senator Merkley.

They took in all the major D.C. Memorials, and National Museums, including the Smithsonian American History, Air and Space, and Holocaust Museums. They spent Sabbath in reverence at Arlington Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

As one of the most challenging courses we’ve offered our students, we are thrilled that they responded to it so well. This was a tough group of young people who worked hard for their accomplishments.

Thank you, students and families, for investing a big piece of your summer to this Project Based Learning adventure.

Part of our students’ work included documenting their experiences. Take a look below to enjoy many of the students’ photos. Better yet, see all of their photos on their class Instagram page HERE


Grand Central Station Time-Lapse // PC: Ben Krueger-Blehm

Time Square // PC: Ben Kreuger-Blehm

Fourth of July fireworks over the Boston Harbor // PC: Ben Krueger-Blehm


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