Abolition, Revolution and the Roots of Democracy: Eighth Grade Boston History Tour

An opportunity to support classroom-based learning  with a visit to sites and locations of historical significance can make a lasting educational impression on students. To that end, Mount Madonna School’s upper school history faculty are planning a learning journey with the eighth grade class to historic Boston, Massachusetts over spring break. While this optional learning journey is not currently an official part of the school program, social studies teachers Chrislaine Miller and Tiffany Wayne say it could become an annual part of the eighth grade curriculum in the future.

To support their classroom study, the students will have the opportunity during this six-day trip to Boston and the surrounding area, to survey the major events and ideas that led to the American War of Independence. This excursion will showcase the importance of Boston as a city that experienced slavery, revolution, and abolition, and how this impacted the development of the early United States.

“The hope is that this trip will deepen our students’ understanding of the foundational arguments for freedom and democracy, a core theme in this year’s course of study in eighth grade,” commented Miller. “Our travel experiences in Boston will also contribute to our mission at Mount Madonna, ‘…to foster creative, intellectual and ethical growth in all students’.”

Their itinerary will include the “Freedom Trail,” a self-guided walking tour of the history of slavery and abolition; the King’s Chapel and Granary Burying Ground to see the graves of key colonial and Revolutionary-era leaders, a visit to the site of the Boston Massacre, and a tour of the Massachusetts State House, seat of the current state capital.

On other days, the group will travel outside of Boston to historic sites of interest  in Concord,  location of the first battle of the American Revolution; and home to 19th century literary figures such as Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau (at Walden Pond).. The group will also travel to Salem, where they’ll learn about the colonial witchcraft trials. On their last full day in the area, they will tour the ship USS Constitution, and its associated museum; the Bunker Hill monument; and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Students at MMS study U.S. History in eighth grade and again in tenth grade.

“My hope is that this trip will create valuable memories and new experiences in traveling as a group for our eighth grade students, setting the groundwork for extended learning journeys to Washington, D.C. and internationally when they are juniors and seniors,” said Wayne. ”As far as the connections with our curriculum, I know the places we visit will provide tangible connections and layers of meaning to events and places they are either learning about now or will study in future classes. I’m very excited that Chrislaine and I get to work together to share our passion for history with the students!”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.

Upcoming Events: