Just before winter break, 8th grade social studies students at Johnstown Jr. High School participated in the annual History Fair. Social studies teacher Jennifer Sweeney said that this year’s fair was the culmination of the students’ unit on immigration, which covers post Civil War to pre-WWI.
Working in small groups, students were able to choose which country they wanted to highlight for their project. Students researched immigration from their chosen country, studying the culture and the reasons why someone might want to come to the United States. Some students picked their own family’s country of origin, incorporating information they learned from their own ancestors.
Each group created a non-fictional character based on a typical immigrant from the country that they studied and based on their research, created a hypothetical travel/arrival experience for their character. Each group presented their information on tri-fold poster board and included images, primary sources, and a journal entry, all related to their character’s ethnicity. They also presented an interactive component related to their identity. Lastly, one member of each group had to dress up as their character during the history fair, with the entire group available to answer questions from visitors to the fair.