LEXINGTON — The Roman writer Livy once said, “"The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see.”
Lexington Middle School students had been preparing to document specific human experiences during History Night, in preparation for National History Day.
Lexington Middle school hosted History Night on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Students spent many hours researching, citing, and creating their projects, according to LMS history teachers Jose Lara, Leila Oberg, Jason Sullivan, Keith Allen and Connie Smets.
“They took the form of Exhibit boards, Documentaries, Websites, Performances, Historical Papers, and digital presentations. 8th-grade students displayed their creations on the 3rd floor, 7th-grade on the 2nd floor, and 6th-grade on the 1st floor. Staff, family, and the community were all invited to view our student's hard work,” the teacher said.
“National History Day is an academic program that involves historical research, interpretation and creative expression for 6th -12 grade students. This year's theme is "Breaking Barriers in History", so students in 7th and 8th grade had to select a topic, from any time period in history, that they could relate and interpret with that theme,” the teacher said.
They continued, “There are local, regional, state and then National competitions in which students need to qualify to move on to the next level. The local was held here at the middle school last night, regionals will be held at UNK March 11, state-level at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln on April 18 and Nationals in Washington D.C. in June, students that qualified move on to the UNK competition next.”
The students were allowed to choose their topic from any time period in history, any location in history as long as they could tie their project back to the theme. Projects could have been based on a person, event, organization or social cause/injustice, said the teachers.
Some examples included: Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Title IX, Fall of the Berlin Wall, 19th Amendment, Husker Volleyball, Climate Change, Liberation of the Concentration Camps in World War II, dropping the Atomic Bomb, Animal Testing in America, John and Will Kellogg, Ansel Adams-Wildlife Activist.
The majority of students worked in partnerships, although some did choose to complete their projects independently.
According to the teachers, students learn and enhance their research skills, communication skills and get to use their creativity. This is a well-rounded project that taps into their various multi-intelligences and by selecting the project that fits them best, they get to demonstrate and showcase their strengths.
“For some, their strength is visual and/or auditory so they might select exhibit boards, some kinesthetically which they display with performances, for some it could be writing demonstrated through the historical papers or maybe they are good with technology and they choose to create a documentary or website. History can connect to many parts of our lives,” the teacher said.
When students looked at "Breaking Barriers" they could see how things in our world could be very different had many of these past events not occurred as well as some looking toward the future and what they want it to look like and what we can do now to change certain outcomes.