Over the last couple of weeks, SCCS 7th grade students traveled to the other side of the world during their studies of the Middle Ages and medieval China and Japan. Melissa Coughlin, 7th grade History teacher, encourages learning through experiential assignments.
“To engage students and get them immersed in learning, we started with the tea project during our studies of medieval China,” shared Mrs. Coughlin. “We watched Good Eats, a Food Network show, which examined the history and different types of Chinese tea such as black, green and oolong. We considered how they are processed, what they look and smell like and how they are brewed. Students researched how Chinese tea houses were much like our coffee houses today where people came together to talk with their friends and get the latest news.”
After China, the class moved on to Japan during the Middle Ages and Japanese teas. Students experienced their own tea ceremony where they washed their hands first, wore makeshift kimonos, crawled through the small entrance of their “tea house” and removed their shoes.
“They put powdered matcha tea in a bowl and used a Japanese whisk to attempt to get a good froth on top, and then the host student served their guests,” continued Mrs. Coughlin. “We found out that slurping is polite in Japan so students had a great time ‘being polite’ and slurping as loud as they could!”
After the tea projects, students experienced the Samurai Bushido Code project where they explored character traits prized by the Samurai like generosity, bravery, sincerity, loyalty and more.
“We discussed how many of these same traits are prized by God as we are in Christ’s army and fight spiritual battles,” shared Mrs. Coughlin. “Then students chose three of the traits that they want to work on in their own lives.
Next, 7th grade students will compare the Bushido Code of the Samurai to the Chivalric Code of the European Knights and finish out the year studying the Renaissance and Reformation.
“I believe it is imperative for students to understand all forms of history as they embark on their own journeys in life,” shared Mrs. Coughlin. “They can learn from other people’s mistakes and see how Satan can take a truth like ‘life involves suffering’ and twist it into a belief that if you become ‘enlightened’ you will be saved. They can practice compassion for the lost and be inspired to go out into the world and fulfill the Great Commission. History is very important.”
Seventh grade History studies ensure students are well prepared to enter 8th grade where they begin the year understanding what life was like before colonization and exploration as they move toward American History. This sets the stage for their 8th grade Washington DC trip in the fall.
“I love teaching history at SCCS because I get to tell the whole story,” continued Mrs. Coughlin. “I teach them about how God worked in the lives of those who came before us. I help them analyze how Satan has worked to ultimately lure as many as possible with small truths that are twisted into something completely different. I enjoy seeing students’ faces when they begin to understand those truths. God has kept His promises throughout the ages, and He will continue to do so.”