Students in Beverly Woody’s sixth grade Social Studies class at Martinsville Middle School created a museum featuring displays of historical figures and events last week.
The students also acted as tour guides, discussing their projects with students, faculty, and staff.
Woody said she wanted the children to create a museum rather than just undergo another test or examination.
“History is so much more than just remembering facts and dates,” said Woody. “Projects like the museum are three-dimensional and breathe life into people and places from the past. When we study our history, we build a connection between the past and the future. Future generations will have more appreciation and understanding of the hardships and sacrifices of those that came before them. In turn, these people and places from the past will be more respected and revered.”
Sixth grader Niema Merritt explained that her favorite part of the project was being able to choose a topic of interest to showcase. She focused on the Trail of Tears, a series of forced displacements of Native Americans between 1830 and 1850.
“I chose the Trail of Tears because in class, we read about a young Cherokee boy that lost his father and mother along the Trail of Tears and he was left all alone,” said Merritt. “I wanted to learn more about him and the lives of the Cherokee people. Doing a presentation like this gave me so much more freedom to learn and tell others about the experiences of the Cherokee.”
Sixth grader William Wall chose the California Gold Rush for his project “because I have always been interested in gold. It’s shiny and it’s worth a lot. Plus, I like mining. I don’t do it personally, but the aspect of mining seems to speak to me.”
Echoed the excitement, sixth grader Iriana Newbillsaid, “I loved that we did a presentation rather than a test because it is hard to study for tests, but this was fun! I still learned a lot, too. I hope we do another one.”
“We are proud of the work our students have done in developing their critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship necessary to meet the Profile of a Virginia Graduate,” said Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Angilee Downing. “We also appreciate our staff for their dedication and work in creating a love of learning while developing these skills in our students.”