After studying key events of the American Civil War, seventh-grade historians are working on independent research projects that report on a specific Civil War-era topic of their choosing. Ample resources and a thorough description of the assignment can be found on the LMS page for Grade 7 History.
In a recent class meeting with teacher Emma Simmons, students revisited the four steps in the research process that will guide their projects and discussed the kinds of primary sources that they should include as part of their citations. These include letters, journal entries, newspaper articles and speeches.
Mrs. Simmons also described how to narrow down a topic of interest into a more manageable research question. For example, Sadie Sutton is interested in the role of spies and espionage during the Civil War. Mrs. Simmons advised her to focus on a specific aspect of that subject area such as Union spies or spies who were women.
In break-out groups, students discussed some of their initial ideas. Charlie May is intrigued by those generals who may have trained together in military school but found themselves on opposite sides of the war. Jake Mandes wants to learn more about the impact of armored ships on naval warfare during the Civil War.
The goal, said Mrs. Simmons, is to give students the freedom to explore a topic of interest that will ignite their natural curiosity for learning.
“There’s so much to learn about the Civil War that we can’t possible cover it all in class,” she shared. “This is a fascinating, pivotal time in American history and my hope is that students will pick a subject that they care about and that matters to them.”
Following their research, student historians will present their findings in writing and depict them in creative dioramas using found objects in their homes.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.