In our Mayflower unit, students study the history of the Pilgrims and Strangers on their journey to the New World. We researched and learned the historical events leading up to the voyage. Every student took on the role of an actual passenger who was aboard the Mayflower. Students embodied their roles and spent a week on our classroom Mayflower simulating the journey. Before they boarded the ship, they recited the Traveler's Prayer to have a safe journey to the New World. On the ship, they experienced water contamination, a storm, and the birth of a baby! As part of the unit, we integrate non-fiction reading and writing journal entries. We also use technology to create a comic strip showing daily life and family structures aboard the Mayflower. Our Hebrew/Judaic studies teachers make the connection between the parasha Lech Lecha when Avraham left his home to journey to a new land.
Active and Experiential Learning
At Chicago Jewish Day School, curriculum is authentic and meaningful. Students understand that what they learn in school is applicable to the broader outside world. Learning is integrated between the disciplines to demonstrate to students how ideas span the different content areas. Students play a vital role in formulating the questions, seeking out and creating answers, thinking through possibilities, and evaluating how successful they have been. Students’ own questions are truly valued and integral to the learning process. Learning is a matter of constructing ideas rather than passively absorbing information or practicing skills.