For History Day in 6th grade the students were asked to complete a living wax museum. For this project the students needed to research someone who was born in Minnesota, complete a trifold poster board with facts and information about their person, write a speech from a first-person point of view, and come up with a costume that represents their personality. This year we had a great variety of people selected from movie stars, singers, actors, authors, and professional athletes. Some of the favorites were Prince, Lindsey Vonn, Chris Pratt, Charles Schultz, Joe Mauer, and Judy Garland. The students were given a full week of classroom time to complete this activity in addition to three weeks of time at home to complete all of the loose ends and be ready to present to the community. Judging by the amount of people that came to visit History Day it was a giant success. A big thank you goes out to all of the students and families who made these projects wonderful and available for others to enjoy.
Seventh graders in Mr. Halbach's United States history class created Bobblehead Boxes. Individuals were asked to select a man or woman (and in one case a horse!) from Smithsonian Magazine's list of the most significant Americans in history. Students were given three days to perform research, write a short biography, find a primary source related to their topic and draw a picture of the most significant moment in their subject's life. At the top of their box was a paper bobblehead figure that represented their individual in clothing from the era they lived. Students came to recognize the complexity of historical figures' lives. They realized that whether celebrated or notorious, we can learn a great deal about our nation's history by studying those that played a prominent role in forming the America we inhabit today.
Eighth graders in Mr. Halbach's geography class studied the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis and contemplated the ramifications of acting strictly in self-interest versus making concessions for the sake of compromise. Groups were tasked with creating logical and persuasive arguments about why their side (Palestinian or Israeli) has a right to the contested land. They were then asked to explain if a realistic solution existed that could be implemented effectively in the near future. As students progressed in their learning, they gained greater appreciation for the layers of complexity from the historical, national, religious and ethnic dimensions of this conflict. Each group had unique and compelling conclusions that displayed tremendous thought and insight.