Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, in collaboration with Essex National Heritage Commission and Massachusetts Archaeology Education Consortium, hosted a professional development workshop based on the educational approach of Place-Based Service Learning for Haverhill teachers on November 5. Participating educators experienced the benefits of using local resources to achieve curricular goals as they explored the site in multiple ways.
When teachers “became” the 17th century iron workers, Puritans, Scottish indentured servants, and Pawtucket groups who interacted with each other at the Iron Works in a role play scenario, they could see how this technique might allow their students to connect with history on an emotional level. This strategy and others involving interaction with artifacts and the site itself demonstrated how connecting to a local place can lead to better understanding of broader historical themes and why those themes matter in today’s world.
As they practiced these site-based learning strategies, teachers were also encouraged to think about ways to use other resources within the Essex National Heritage Area in their curriculum development.