THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TOURISTS AND ACTIVISTS
How does a field trip to Jefferson City turn social studies into leadership development that ensures our future? For one thing, Mirowitz students don’t go to our state capitol as tourists. They go as activists.
Tourists sit in the gallery above the congressional floor and observe legislative proceedings. Our Mirowitz social activists become personally invested in those proceedings, having researched and written opinion pieces on several of the bills being discussed.
Tourists walk through the capitol building, passing by doors of their representatives and senators. Our Mirowitz social activists knock on their doors. They have scheduled individual appointments and have learned to express their opinion about a house bill. They’ve practiced lobbying etiquette, including the importance of eye contact and manners.
Tourists walk past the state archives, gawking at the stacks of records and cases filled with primary documents. Our Mirowitz social activists arrive with a topic to research, and spend time sifting through documents that make slavery, women’s suffrage, the New Madrid fault and the Louisiana Purchase more “real” than any history book or website ever could.
Mirowitz teachers don’t rely on textbooks to nourish the mind. They take our students to watersheds to investigate erosion, to the prairie to study ecosystems, and to caves and granite boulders to study geology. They watch caterpillars morph into butterflies and trace their own shadows to understand the path of the sun. They re-enact historical moments and scenes from their favorite literature.
The world is their classroom, and active learning yields authentic and lasting knowledge.