PAA History Classes Have a Wild History Lesson

February 01, 2011 | Liesl Vistaunet

The Portland Adventist Academy social studies department gave their history classes a fun way to learn the subject.

One of Portland's many touring companies marries local history with the thrills of a powerful boat ride. After having experienced the jet boat tour first hand, social studies teachers Joan Oksenholt and Tim Erich decided it would be a stimulating way for their students to learn.

The tour took the students along the Willamette River and through downtown Portland. It educated them about adventurous pirates and remarkable pioneers. They also stopped at important landmarks like bridges on the historical registry and a real working steam sawmill that employed thousands of people who depended on Portland's rivers for work.

The fun, of course, was speeding along the city river and the quick stops that ended with giant splashes of water.

"It was really cool," says Regina Jones, a junior U.S. history student. "The boat did donuts, which were awesome. But I also learned a lot of things I'd never realized before — like how years ago, the river was a place where high society hung out. There is even an old castle I'd never seen before."

"It turned out to be a great way to meld Portland history with sheer fun," says Oksenholt.