Two students at Kingsburg’s Reagan Elementary School are heading to the state History Day event in May.
William Bishop and Cy Hammerstrom, both fifth-grade students, placed second in the two-dimensional category in the Fresno County competition on Saturday at Fresno Pacific University for their research into Albert Einstein’s invention of the atomic bomb.
The students will now head to the state competition May 6-7 in Rocklin.
乐动体育Hammerstrom said that after months of research, they concluded that the bomb had both good and bad results, depending on how you look it.
“We decided it was both, because if you think about it, it stopped a war but also killed tons of people. And it also cured some things, but also destroyed some things,” he said.
Students Seth Carrillo and Luke Schoelen researched basketball game inventor James Naismith and placed third at the county competition in the two-dimensional category.
Reagan Elementary held its own schoolwide History Day event March 8. It was the school’s first foray in the national event, in which students have to pick an event or person with importance in history to do research on.
Fifth-graders displayed research they conducted over a period of several months about important figures and events in history.
Other fifth-graders who participated in the school-wide event included Emma Dibble who researched Ronald Reagan; Claire Lunde and Sage Hanson, who researched Amelia Earhart; and Breonna Brown, who researched Anne Frank.
Community members, parents and school staff viewed the displays and asked the students questions about their research.
Their teacher, Jodi Zapata, said she was inspired to have her students participate after seeing the enthusiasm that students in her sister’s class at Selma’s Garfield Elementary had.
“She took her students to state,” Zapata said of her sister, Victoria Riano. Zapata said she’s also a firm believer in being a life-long learner and thus wanted to challenge herself and her students to try something new.
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“As my students selected their projects, I had to go back and dig deeper to help them. These are not just biographies,” she said of their research.
“Whatever topic they selected had to connect to those three themes,” she said of the competition’s theme focused on encounter, exchange and exploration.
乐动体育Riano said that after judging previous years’ events and coaching her own students, she was able to share some time management advice with the Reagan team.
“One thing I learned is they need time [and] to spread out their research. They’ve benefitted from understanding they do the project one time, look it over, get feedback and do it again and again. It gets better with time.”
The teachers said that just by participating in History Day, students learn perseverance, time management and understanding how to meet deadlines.
Along with retired teacher Joan Bishop, Zapata and the participating students starting meeting this past fall to pick topics, conduct research and then write their 500-word process paper.
乐动体育While each student or team used similar research techniques, they each learned something unusual from the subjects of their research.
Bishop said the projects will help him and the students as they eventually job hunt as adults.
乐动体育“Since we’ve been practicing for the interviews, we’ll probably use this in our interviews when we’re older,” he said.
乐动体育Brown said she knew nothing about Anne Frank before she started the project and learned not only research skills but also about believing in your dreams despite hardships.
“She was very positive even when she was in hiding. She taught everyone you should believe in your dreams and do what you can even if times are rough. Even though she did die, she still lives on. She still accomplished her dream of being a writer.”
乐动体育Reagan Elementary Principal Bobby Rodriguez said the main thing students were learning were 21st century skills they’ll carry with them into adulthood.
乐动体育“They were able to get online and create their bibliographies on Google docs and collaborate together online. The way they’re able to communicate with somebody asking them questions will get them ready for interviews when they get older,” he said.
Students who place at the state level of competition will go on to national competition in June in Maryland.
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