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Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Mr. Steininger’s and Mrs. Geelan’s 7th grade Social Studies class at the Washington Street Teaching and Learning Center are blending history and technology with hands-on learning. The class of 12 students presented their projects on the French and Indian War recently. As an end of unit activity, they researched important forts in the war, several of which are in their own back yard. They constructed to scale replicas of Fort Edward, Fort William Henry, Fort Saint Frederic, Fort Duquesne, and Fort Oswego.
The students learned about the history of these forts by going on virtual field trips. Using Google Earth, they drilled down to specific geographical locations. They used Wikipedia to get information about the forts’ construction and came up with a design and construction plan for their own models. The students used pretzel sticks as the main material for the forts. One stipulation was not to eat the construction materials. They also created maps of the areas surrounding the forts.
Each student wrote a one page research paper, which they were required to type on their own. They fact checked it with their teachers and attached it with their project.
Tim Lyons of Whitehall said, “I liked doing the research and finding about things I did not know before.”
WSTLC Principal Beth McGraw said, “the hands-on piece of the project was important and really helped the students to make connections”.
The presentation element of the project allowed students to practice social skills and independence. The students are already looking ahead to their next unit, the Revolutionary War.
“I can’t wait to make battle maps. I picked Germantown”, said Brandon Dickinson of Hudson Falls.
Making history interactive has really sparked curiosity, while fulfilling NYS learning standards.