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PACES is happy to report the successful completion of our first in-school program! In June, PACES worked with Jennifer Miller’s World History classes of tenth and eleventh grade students at the Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy, a 6-12 school in the Pittsburgh Public Schools district. After the program ended, Ms. Miller relayed her appreciation: “My World History classes loved working with PACES! The project was a fun way to tie all of our course themes together and we liked being able to work with PACES representatives and volunteers. Thanks!”
Ms. Miller contacted PACES to create an end-of-the-year program for her students. PACES worked with Ms. Miller to align the project to the district curriculum. PACES then provided supplies, resources, incentives, teacher support, volunteers, and judges (community professionals) as the students created a “World History Exhibition” displayed in their school’s multi-purpose room. Students voted on the logo and title of the exhibition, choosing:
A PACES representative, who is also a certified social studies and English teacher, was with Ms. Miller’s classes each day they worked on the project. College student volunteers helped students gather research. Before students assembled their final projects, a college art history professor provided feedback and a “practice judging” session. Students who were especially productive and dedicated to the project received “good news” reports for home. In the following days, students completed their projects and presented them before four judges (who work in the Pittsburgh arts, university, and law communities, and Ms. Miller) who provided feedback and scores in the following areas: creativity, effort, historical interpretation, and attention to theme.
The first and second place groups received prizes for their efforts. First place was awarded to the group that titled their piece, “A Walk through War.” This group compared the experience of
World War I soldiers to soldiers serving in Afghanistan today. The students created two tents out of tables, rods, and sheets, and included posters with historical facts and research inside the tent. As the judges went through the tents, students pretended they were soldiers and communicated their information to the viewers while role playing. The judges appreciated the “very clear and excellent comparison” between the two wars, with one judge stating in her feedback: “Outstanding presentation—intelligent, confident, and organized. You were able to convey the significant historical shift between World War I and Afghanistan with detailed research.”
The second place group titled their work “Modern Cultural Exchange” and focused on South Korea’s global influence. Judges felt this group collaborated well and provided solid answers to their questions during the discussion part of their presentation, stressing that they “conveyed the broader implications of globalization and carefully researched the subject” and that their “written material was very detailed and insightful.”
PACES wishes to thank all the students and staff at SciTech who permitted us to complete this pilot program. We were very impressed with the students’ creative ideas and their productivity during the last days of school! This fun and educational program helps us fulfill our mission: Enrich Students. Support Teachers. Foster Community. If you would like PACES to help your class create a social studies exhibition, please contact us.
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Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students