Mr. Zmuda Brings Real World Experiences to Students
In conjunction with their reading of The Boys in the Boat, the remarkable true story of the American rowers competing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Mr. Zmuda took his “Triumph & Defeat” Junior/Senior Seminar on a field trip to the Naval Academy Rowing Center.
Guided by Navy Crew Director Rob Friedrich, the students first tried their hand at intensive erg training and then took to actual shells in the Navy Rowing Tank. In addition to learning about the remarkable history of Navy Rowing, the students experienced first-hand the difficulty of rowing an 8-person shell, gaining a true appreciation of what the American crew had to master en route to their Olympic gold.
Mr. Zmuda often brings real world experiences into his classroom, showing students what they are learning or reading about is more than just words on a page. Last month, while teaching his Junior/Senior seminar “Literature of the Chesapeake,” Mr. Zmuda found out that most of his students had never tasted an oyster before. Therefore, to fully immerse them in the curriculum, he held an “oyster tasting” in his room during lunch. Students shucked the oysters themselves, and encouraged their classmates to try them with a wide variety of accompaniments, such as lemon, cocktail sauce, and even hot sauce. While the results were somewhat mixed for first-time tasters, all had fun and a unique learning experience.
This is not the first year Mr. Zmuda has taken his “Triumph & Defeat” seminar off campus to experience what they are learning about in the classroom. Last year, in conjunction with their research and term papers on the Beijing Winter Olympics, students traveled to the Chesapeake Curling Center in Easton for a two-hour curling session. They learned from members of the curling team that there is more to the sport than just throwing rocks down a sheet of ice, and were able to practice sweeping the ice and throwing stones, even trying to put some spin on it like the professionals do.