Eighth grade students – who have been examining themes and issues that have spanned the history of the United States from the formation of the colonies to today’s current events – worked over several months to create their capstone projects that reflected a deep understanding of their topics.
“Their projects were designed in a way that communicates with an audience the development of the issue they chose,” said social studies teacher David Katz, who created the assignment along with fellow teacher Tom Sanders. “The students created an illustrated timeline, wrote research papers with documents included throughout, and produced documentaries and websites that creatively demonstrated their knowledge and interest.”
The students were tasked with identifying an enduring issue, from women’s rights to immigration, press freedom, transportation and taxation, among others, and tell the history of that issue in the United States. Throughout the learning experience, they conducted extensive independent research on their chosen topic, supported by middle school library media specialist Eileen Mann. They collected a wide variety of primary and secondary source documents to support their claims, drew connections among the documents, refined their topics and considered the most effective ways they could tell a story.
Eighth grader Ted Heraty said he conducted his research on the federal tax policy because he was interested in understanding how it has evolved over time and how it relates to today’s world.
“As a result of their work, the students understood the complexity of local and global issues and connected the past to the present,” Sanders said. “They were also able to enhance their research skills and showed persistence and grit.”