California history is much easier to grasp when you can use a time machine and interview Father Junipero Serra himself, according to the fourth-graders in Carol Singer's class at Mariners Elementary School.
Under the leadership of parent volunteer Barry Hovis, the students portrayed figures from state history, such as Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and Serra--who was played, appropriately, by a student named Sara.
And while Hovis tossed out questions like a game-show host, the students learned geography by marking important locations in California on a floor-sized relief map. A Mickey Mouse figurine stood on Anaheim, of course, while Los Angeles was denoted by a scale-model SigAlert of Matchbox cars.
"I liked how he has this big map and he [Hovis] made learning really fun, instead of like a boring, old social studies class," Tony Riva, 9, of Newport Beach said.