Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Field Trip that a Social Studies Dad would Love

So, let's say a dad teaches Macroeconomics. And let's say he takes his kids to Philadelphia. And let's say he leads them on a trip that looks like this. 

Oh, I forgot. There was also a trip to Elfreth's Alley. 

Sadly, the Money in Motion exhibit at the Philly Fed was a bit over their head. But it was so satisfying to bookend a trip to Philadelphia with tributes to how cash and then coin are made. 

Tee hee! Oh, I can see the therapy bills piling up in the future. 

Psychologist: So tell me about your childhood. 

Sam/Caroline: Well, he insisted on visiting bunkers for government during nuclear crises and places that help decipher monetary policy. 

Psychology: No wonder you're such a mess. We must schedule more sessions. 

In between we visited Betsy Ross's home as well as the Fireman's Museum. With friends. It was our fifth such trip of the summer to someplace historical or scenic with friends. It was also our first that was not to the north or west. 

I was surprised at how fascinating the U.S. Mint was. In fact, I need to visit that place again. In a practical sense, I learned enough on that little visit to justify a field trip with my AP Macroeconomics kids. It'd be kind of interesting to lay in wait until that inevitable class when a student asks a question about the nuts and bolts of money and then respond with a question of my own: "You want to take a field trip and find out?"

We did miss the morning with our friends as they saw the more conventional sites on Independence Mall. One of them suggested that they could see me someday giving tours at a place like Independence Hall. It's flattering and in many ways believable. I think my best education on U.S. History was of the colonial and Revolutionary period. I can make pretty good sense of the complexities of the era and I'm not too shabby about explaining them in layman's terms. 

Sadly, though, I never visited Independence Mall's historic sites until I was well in my 20s. And today's trip showed me that I need to get my kids down there more often. When they're in their 20s I hope they feel like they truly know the lay of the land down there. 

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