Teacher Brad Anderson engages students through a multitude of outdoor challenges


Over the past few years, world history teacher Brad Anderson has made his mark on many generations of students. From gladiator battles to the tournament of champions debates, his innovative ideas for teaching have impacted many, and his notorious activities have grown to be a highly anticipated part of the course. This year, the chatter amongst the halls is all about his civilization building and adventures outside.

“This was an idea that started about ten years ago with mock battles in the gym,” Anderson said. “I had kids that brought in cardboard to make shields, and we also did a little training before the battles. Over the past ten years, it has really developed into an all-encompassing simulation where students build their own civilizations outdoors.”

Each day, his world history students journey outside and meet with their team. There are two teams: green and grey. Each team has multiple tasks and must complete all of them over the course of twenty-five days.

Some of the tasks that have to be done consist of building things with materials found in the woods. Whether it be raining, sunny, or snowing, the teams must go outside and work on their civilization.

According to junior Megan Clay, this type of teaching and approach is very beneficial to students.

“[I think that it helps to benefit students] because it is very hands-on,” Megan said. “I am a competitive person, and I enjoy going to history so much more because I get to compete against the other team and hopefully win.”

Anderson also found that this simulation is an opportunity for students to be outside and be social, noting that it helps students learn how to work as a team.

“I have a firm belief that students need to move around, and they need to engage themselves,” Anderson said. “I also believe that students spend too much time in front of computers, so this activity, for me, is very important.”

Aside from the social and fun parts of this activity, there are multiple challenges that arise as well. Each team has to come up with their own language, and they are prohibited to speak to the other teams in English.

According to Anderson, there are even more challenges that have yet to show up.

“With doing an activity like this, there are always some problems that could happen,” Anderson said. “There is always a risk of how are they going to interact with each other and how are they going to establish leaders.”

Establishing leadership is one of many areas that could cause problems within each group.

“It’s hard to work as a team sometimes,” Megan said. “The whole team is supposed to learn a language, and it is hard to communicate when not everyone has learned it. It is also hard to figure out everyone’s job when everyone has different opinions.”

But through it all and over the past few days, each team has proven to be hardworking and dedicated to the success of their team.

“It was actually funny,” Megan said. “But on the second day, my hour was very dedicated to making sure that no one came and attacked our camp. We decided to dig a hole and cover it up with sticks, as a trap of some sort. We forgot to tell the other people on our team from other hours, and they ended up falling into the trap, instead of our enemies.”

With funny memories, dedicated teammates, and hard work, the civilization activity has been a smashing success so far, and it will hopefully be a long-lasting tradition at FHC.

“My motto is to improvise, adapt, and overcome,” Anderson said. “In the simulation, they must do that continuously, which ultimately is one of the biggest lessons that I as a teacher can help teach them.”