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WWII project educates U.S. History class

In order to understand the culture and experiences of those during World War II, students in U.S. History presented a group project, April 1.

For the project, students were required to make a symbol that illustrates their topic in the form of a memory box, filled with objects that represent the war, and create a journal from the perspective of a person in the time period, featuring at least eight entries in total.

History teacher Bessalee Mendoza says that she wanted students to participate in the project so that they could gsin a better understanding of life during the Second World War.

“I wanted my students to do the project so they can gain more information of the war,” Mendoza said. “They also got to learn about different experiences during the war. Besides the different stories and experiences, I also wanted my students to relate what they learned in class to the project.”

The opportunity to present such a project allowed sophomore Kristen Rosenthal to use creativity in sharing what she learned, she says.

“I was excited to present the project because I wanted to share my opinion of the war with the class,” Rosenthal said. “My favorite part of the project was the wooden box, since we could be creative with it and put anything we want in there as long as it represented the war.”

Freshman Chris Chon has appreciated working in a group with his classmates and prefers projects to working by himself, as he finds the collaborative environment to be less stressful.

“It was fun working with other people,” Chon said. “I usually prefer group projects because I do not have to do all the work and I can depend on other people. I also learned different aspects of the war. Overall, the project was fun and stress-free.”

Although sophomore Nicholas Baladjanian found the work process easy, he was not looking forward to the presentation itself. Despite this, Baladjanian said his group was well-prepared, which aided in the process.

“Working on the project was not that hard, but I did not really want to present the project,” Baladjanian said. “I do not like presenting projects in front of the whole class. It actually wasn’t that hard, though, because we were allowed to use the notes we had. We were well-prepared.”

In order to get a better understanding of the war and complete the project, students had to read one of five novels, including Joseph Bruchac’s Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two, Allan Zullo’s Heroes of the Holocaust, Paul Dowswell’s True Stories of the Second World War, David Patneaude’s Thin Wood Walls and Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s The Boy Who Dared.

For sophomore Amy Savage, reading the novel was her favorite part of the project.

“My favorite part of the project was reading the book,” Savage said. “I read Thin Wood Walls. It was mainly about the events that happened at Pearl Harbor, so I learned a lot about it. I also like how the author told the story.”

As a result of working on the project in a group, sophomore Jessica Healy says that she become better acquainted with her classmates.

“The history project was not a hard, but fun, project,” Healy said. “I thought it was a good way to interact with the class. I was looking forward to presenting it. Also, I learned a lot of information that I would not have known without doing the project.”

For more coverage of classes, read the Nov. 18, 2010 article, Chemistry experiments elucidate principles.

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