MISSION MONDAY: Immersing in the Age of Enlightenment


Welcome to Mission Monday, a series of posts highlighting the ways North Salem students embrace the district mission of engaging in continual improvement, including questioning, defining and solving problems through critical and creative thinking. To learn more about the North Salem Mission, please click here.


Sophomores in the AP European History course at North Salem High School were recently challenged to take on the identity of a figure from the Age of Enlightenment – a project that required extensive research and immersion.

The purpose of the project was to engage students in learning an immense amount of information about 18th century Europe in ways that would help them go beyond the facts and gain a deeper understanding of the concepts, while having fun undertaking challenging and thoughtful work.

Each student selected a historical figure, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Catherine the Great and Mary Wollstonecraft to research and create a period costume for.

In addition, students prepared themselves to answer in-depth questions from other students about their historical figure, as well as engage in debates about period topics including politics, science and religion.

The assignment challenged them to use their creative thinking skills to take the point of view and walk in the shoes of their chosen person. Critical thinking skills were used to dig into the research and construct opinions and arguments. Communication skills were used in the intense and friendly debates with other historical figures.