Mock Trial Meets College Application Video

For the last two and half years I have been teaching the Mock Trial class at Desert Christian High School. A mock trial is an act or imitation trial. The mock trial program in Arizona teaches students in grades 9-12 about the law and the legal system by participating in a simulated trial. The program is an opportunity for students to learn about the law and the legal system from practicing attorneys; for teachers to work closely with attorneys to reinforce legal concepts in the classroom; and for attorneys to share their expertise about the law and their legal skills.

Last year I had the pleasure of teaching Miss Fennema, who loved the class so much that she enrolled again as a senior, helping teach trial strategies to our varsity and JV teams. She also decided to use the methods she learned in class to produce her college application video to Trinity College in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Fennema filmed this video in my classroom. I loved the finished product so much that I asked for permission to post it here.

2018 Titan II Missile Museum Field Trip!

Last week my US History students went on a field trip to the Titan II Missile Museum. Located just 45 minutes from our school, visitors can experience for themselves the last remaining nuclear missile silo from the Cold War era. “This preserved Titan II missile site, officially known as complex 571-7, is all that remains of the 54 Titan II missile sites that were on alert across the United States from 1963 to 1987” (Titan Missile Museum). Below are some of the class comments about their time during the field trip and a few of the pictures students took. The parent chaperones had a great time too! Here is a link to a gallery of photos that a parent took.

…it gives amazing insight into what the government and military was doing during the Cold War and definitely makes you realize just how serious of a situation it was… – Drew

Possibly one of the most exciting sites to see in the city of Tucson, Arizona, the Titan II Missile Museum mesmerizes (sic) its visitors with technology found in no other museum. – Tori

The 390th Strategic Missile Wing helped to keep the peace during the Cold War for 24 years, with its main message being “peace through deterrence,” which obviously worked. – Tori

Not only did I learn extremely interesting information about the Cold War and how missiles work, but my eyes were opened to how serious the situation really could have been.  If anyone is looking for an opportunity to learn about Tucson’s own contribution to the world’s affairs, and wants an interactive, walk-through experience, this museum is a fantastic option. – Tori

Not only is the museum tour entirely educational, the wonders of Cold War era technology and protocols are only fathomable (sic) once seen. – Wini

Not only will you learn about the history of the cold war and Titan missiles but you will also beforehand learn the chemistry of why and how the missile is able to launch. – Kati

I would give Titan 2 Missile Museum 10 big red buttons out of 10. – Emma

Perhaps the most entertaining thing I learned was what life was like for the soldiers themselves stationed at the missile silo.  While their lives must’ve seemed uneventful, they carried a duty to essentially carry out WWIII if necessary. This surely was a huge responsibility to bear. – Adam

This place also serve as a reminder of our human nature, each of us is always trying to be on top of the game. The idea of Mutually Assured Destruction resonates through the silo and the missile stands a pillar of strength to back those thoughts. – Sky

A demonstration was done to show how the chemicals self ignite. Another demonstration was done to show how the missile takes off and what the flame would look like. – Taylor

One thing that interested me the most was “peace through deterrence.” The fact that this was the only thing keeping the Cold War from going hot is unbelievable. – Taylor

As an aspiring Airman it just gave me another reason why I want to enter that field. To honor those who came before me and to inspire those who follow me. – Taylor

I left with the knowledge of what the lifestyle was like for the crew and the amount of precautions that they had to take to ensure security. – Aubrie

I had the opportunity to stand facing an object that held the potential to alter the course of our nation’s history within minutes and that could have destroyed numerous lives and generations to come. – Aubrie

The tour guide keeps visitors engaged by involving the audience, by letting someone sit in the chair and press buttons, and by asking questions. – Chelsea

There are no words to explain how amazing it felt to be so close to it all, to be able to see the actual bomb, to be able to see the motherboard which controlled everything in the shelter. – Carlos

…Chuck did several demonstrations though one that produced the loudest, “Whoaaa” was when Chuck filled a water jug with a small amount of rocket fuel, and setting the jug into a plastic, skeletal-like cylinder, he held a flame to the open nozzle, exposing the fumes to the rocket fuel and BAM off it went. – Hannah

Being able to understand the chemical reactions behind it all showed me how there was so much more than pushing a button and ta-da, big explosion, but there was time, study and hours of lab work dedicated to the construction of this missile. – Hannah

San Xavier Field Trip

Field trips bring history to life; they take classroom learning to the next level, where students can touch, feel, and truly ingest content. I love taking students on field trips, and at Desert Christian High School, I have the freedom to do just that!

This month we’ve been discussing the era in American history called Westward Expansion. As a part of our studies in this era, we have explored the reasons for the European migration west. One such reason was missionary work: spreading the word of God to those who had not yet heard it. In Tucson, AZ, where our school is located, we happen to have a missionary church still standing from (actually even before) this era. Founded in 1692 by Father Francisco Kino, San Xavier is quite the historic place to visit.

Mission San Xavier, a part of New Spain, became a part of the new Republic of Mexico in 1821. Mexican material support for missions was non-existent, and in 1837 San Xavier’s last resident missionary in the 19th century departed the premises. Franciscan administration of all missions in the region came to an end in 1843 and secular clergy assumed responsibility for the churches, a circuit-riding Mexican priest visiting San Xavier perhaps once a year until the Mission became a part of the United States in June, 1854 with approval of the Gadsden Purchase.

During our field trip to the mission, students were asked to take photos of the mission and copious notes as the docent spoke. Back home for homework, these photos and notes were to be compiled into a “travel blog post,” whereby their “readers” could gain information about the mission and Father Kino, and see photos of both. Lastly, the students were to add in their recommendation (or not) of the tour and experience of the mission, so that “readers” could determine whether they would also want to visit. Below is a sampling of some excerpts and photos from the student’s “travel blog posts.”

——————— student work below ————————–

*On October 24, I had the pleasure of visiting, along with my US history class, the aged beauty of the San Xavier Mission. In all of its timeless design and intricate architecture, I could enjoy both design and history in an effortless blend (two developing interests of mine). Father Kino was the founding priest of the San Xavier mission. Though his activity in the mission itself might not have been as directly apparent as some might assume, his actions in establishing San Xavier were significant to US history, or more specifically, westward expansion.

*Father Kino was a man of sacrifice and compassion. He committed his life to the pursuit of the well-being of others. Aside from being the founding priest to the San Xavier Mission, Father Kino contributed much more to the surrounding area. In addition to San Xavier, Father Kino founded 20 other missions, however he never built a church. Hailing from Italy, his dream developed into wanting to become a missionary, and when a traumatic event enveloped his life, causing him to become ill, he cried out to God, swearing that if he recovered he would devote his life to God. Ironically, he only came to the San Xavier church about five or six times at most. He passed away in 1711 and was buried at Magdalena De Kino.

*All in all, I would not only recommend but insist that you find time, or rather make time, to visit the San Xavier Mission. Perhaps during your visit, you might just find a bit of yourself, if you’re lucky. History does not define us, but it does mold us. San Xavier, the church, Father Kino, as ancient as we may perceive them, are also apart of our history and play a certain effect in our modern day, thus when we learn more about history, we delve deeper into our own character and learn more about ourselves. Continue reading “San Xavier Field Trip”