Seventh Graders Research Immigration Stories

Seventh grader Marcia Zimmerman presents her Cultural Heritage Project

The seventh grade concluded a six-week long project on immigration with the Cultural Heritage Project (CHP) Festival on May 19.  A capstone project in the grade’s U.S. history curriculum, the CHP challenges each student to research a country, focusing on why and how its people emigrated to the U.S.  (Many students choose countries of their family’s origin, but it is not required that they do.) They must write a short page paper synthesizing their findings and make a visual display to complement their oral presentation at the culminating CHP Festival.

Standing beside colorful posters and laptops running slide shows, the students enthusiastically share their research with a stream of visitors that included their families, teachers and classmates. Many shared family artifacts and samples of their country’s cuisine, and some dressed in traditional costumes. In all, the 42 students researched countries from all corners of the world, from Ireland to Haiti to Japan.

The CHP wiki gives an overview of the project’s guidelines, timetable and requirements. The wiki includes a research pathfinder created by the librarians to direct students to trustworthy sources. Students organized their research notes and created bibliographies using the Noodlebib software.

History teachers Maresa Patterson and Mike Adamowicz, who designed the CHP to give students a chance to flex their researching, writing, and oral speaking muscles, were impressed with both their process and their final products.

“CHP is one of my favorite projects here at Beaver,” says Mr. Adamowicz. ” The students researched thoroughly, managed deadlines, wrote papers, and produced stimulating work. The displays at the fair were fabulous. The best thing about this project is that it is student-driven, and naturally engaging. The students learn about themselves, and their differences in a fun and meaningful way.”

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