Poster boards, video presentations and full 3D dioramas of Georgia history filled the gym at Dalton Middle School on May 14 as the 8th grade hosted its first ever Georgia Studies Fair for parents, school mates and the community.
Teacher Tom Lee explained that the goal of the event was to bring all of the 8th grade teams together for a common project in an effort to get the students to work outside of their usual team. "I really believe when kids can show their work and it has an authentic reason for existing that they'll be more likely to be interested in stepping up to the plate," he said. "It has achieved that goal in that they are proud of their work."
Students had flexibility with about 11 different options in the medium delivery (a game, a video, a diorama, etc) to pair with a unit of study. They worked 2-3 weeks on their projects before the fair.
One group, Tyler Neises and Alfonso Landaverde, learned the power of teamwork and delegating tasks as their video file became corrupted the day before the project was due. Lee said the duo really stepped up and wanted to do well, which was impressive because they could have easily given up.
"Mr. Lee gave us the weekend so we could re-do the project. We stayed up really late and had to figure out how to work around our other obligations. Now that it's done, it is such a relief that we will get a good grade," said Neises.
Landaverde explained that the pressure of presenting the project for their peers was great motivation and drive to come up with a quality project. "We chose that unit of study because we thought it would be a fun to demonstrate the 7 court cases we picked with sock puppets," he said. "It was important for us to get the project done because we didn't want it to look bad for everyone to see."
Breeanna Chandler produced a music video with her friend Aly Lount. The girls changed the lyrics to a Billie Eilish song to be about the civil war. "It took a long time, but I think we have a good project. I learned there were more perspectives from people from the North and the South than I originally thought," she explained. "It's nerve-wracking to present it to my friends. When you do this type of event, everyone gets to see what you do. When everyone sees what you work on, everyone knows what you can do and what you're capable of. I think that's what this event is about."