Every two years, the 7th and 8th grade humanities classes participate in National History Day, a program that over half a million middle and high school students take part in each year. Students choose a topic to research and connect their topic to an annual theme.

The 2014 theme is Rights and Responsibilities in History.

Friends School of Minnesota students chose a variety of topics to research, from the Salem witch trials to the history of body building. They conducted extensive research using primary and secondary sources. They visited libraries and museums and conducted personal interviews to learn about their topics. After analyzing and interpreting their sources, students worked to present their topic in one of five categories:

  • research paper
  • exhibit
  • performance
  • documentary
  • website

At FSMN, we set aside our regular humanities curriculum for two months so that students can focus on their projects. We believe that the projects not only let students learn about something they are genuinely interested in, but also help build:

  • critical thinking skills,
  • research and reading skills,
  • oral and written communication skills,
  • a sense of responsibility, and
  • self-esteem and confidence.

Last week, FSMN hosted a History Day showcase in which each student’s project was presented. The event was well attended and gave students a chance to show off their hard work and talk about their projects. Exhibits, websites, and papers were on display, documentaries were shown, and performances were given.

Friends School of Minnesota History Day 2014
Friends School of Minnesota History Day 2014

Regional History Day

Nineteen projects were chosen to represent Friends School of Minnesota at Regional History Day:

For papers

  • Flannery –Dr. Kevorkian and the Right to Die Act
  • Lauren –Title IX
  • Evy –American With Disabilities Act

For websites

  • Tony –Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc
  • Izzy –Salem Witch Trials
  • Ethan –Executive Privilege and the Watergate Scandal
  • Henry –Chile’s Fight for Democracy

For documentaries

  • Lydia -Media and the Vietnam War
  • John –The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
  • Noah S.–Tuskegee Syphilis Study
  • Emilia –Charles Drew and the Blood Bank

For performances

  • Adrian –Kent State Shootings
  • Sophia –Women’s Social and Political Movement
  • Ellie –Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
  • Paul –Salem Witch Trials

For exhibits

  • Tabitha –Margaret Sanger
  • Abby –Barbara Henry
  • Cassandra –Vietnam War Protest Music
  • Audrey –Title IX

Going to Regionals is another chance to shine during History Day, but we want to celebrate all of the 7th and 8th graders for their hard work and a job well done. They pushed themselves and made amazing steps in their personal growth. We are extremely proud of each student.

– Melissa Andersen & Rebecca Slaby, Middle School Humanities Teachers