Eighth grade history class creates Washington, D.C. projects

Every spring, the eighth grade class goes on a field trip to Washington, D.C. In preparation for this highly anticipated weeklong outing, students from James Thomas’s history class work in teams on PowerPoint projects, each group writing about a different one of our nation’s capital’s most iconic monuments and museums.

Students from James Thomas’s eighth grade history class work in the computer lab on their D.C. projects, which they have been developing since early March. Thomas organizes the D.C. trip, which will take place during the last week of May. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Students from James Thomas’s eighth grade history class work in the computer lab on their D.C. projects, which they have been developing since early March. Thomas organizes the D.C. trip, which will take place during the last week of May. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
A group’s reference materials are scattered across the desk of one of its members. Before each team starts their project, they decide on a monument or museum to write about. Next, the students create an outline with the main ideas of each slide, important facts and information, and a citation. Then, they find the best possible sources, both in print and online. Finally, after completing a voice-over, they assess their projects and submit them to eighth grade history teacher James Thomas. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
A group’s reference materials are scattered across the desk of one of its members. Before each team starts their project, they decide on a monument or museum to write about. Next, the students create an outline with the main ideas of each slide, important facts and information, and a citation. Then, they find the best possible sources, both in print and online. Finally, after completing a voice-over, they assess their projects and submit them to eighth grade history teacher James Thomas. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
One student from James Thomas’s eighth grade history class uses Google Classroom to update the rest of her group on the status of their project. This education tool from the search engine juggernaut has been embraced by many middle school teachers and classes in the past year. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
One student from James Thomas’s eighth grade history class uses Google Classroom to update the rest of her group on the status of their project. This education tool from the search engine juggernaut has been embraced by many middle school teachers and classes in the past year. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Eighth grade history teacher James Thomas helps a group with their project.  Most projects focused monuments such as the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, government buildings such as the U.S. Capitol and the White House, and museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, which includes (among many others) the National Museum of Air and Space, the National Museum of Natural History, and National Museum of American History. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Eighth grade history teacher James Thomas helps a group with their project. Most projects focused monuments such as the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, government buildings such as the U.S. Capitol and the White House, and museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, which includes (among many others) the National Museum of Air and Space, the National Museum of Natural History, and National Museum of American History. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Since the computer lab has only so many seats, a few groups work on their projects in the library. Occasionally, eighth grade history teacher James Thomas comes in to check their progress and help them work out any issues. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Since the computer lab has only so many seats, a few groups work on their projects in the library. Occasionally, eighth grade history teacher James Thomas comes in to check their progress and help them work out any issues. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Two students in eighth grade history teacher James Thomas’s class work together on their project. After each group is finished, Thomas brings his class to the auditorium before the field trip and shows each project to the middle school.  Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Two students in eighth grade history teacher James Thomas’s class work together on their project. After each group is finished, Thomas brings his class to the auditorium before the field trip and shows each project to the middle school. Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Two students in eighth grade history teacher James Thomas’s class work together on their project. After each group is finished, Thomas brings his class to the auditorium before the field trip and shows each project to the middle school.  Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
One group from eighth grade history teacher James Thomas’s class volunteers to show the computer lab their almost-finished project in order to give classmates an idea of what their own projects should look like by this point. When asked why he uses the D.C. project in his classroom every year before the start of the trip, Thomas answered, “The purpose of the project is to make sure that students have some knowledge about what they’re seeing before they see it. It also gives them a very direct exposure to the things they should be learning about that are a part of our national heritage. And the other thing is I just think it’s fun. It provides a very different learning environment for them and for me as a teacher.” Credit: Benjamin Willems for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online

 

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