Posted Date: 04/05/2017
Students learn from researching and viewing history exhibits
Armed with clipboards and pencils, the students in Mike Bruner’s American history and AP European history classes walked among the rows of tall tri-fold exhibits, taking notes. Some jotted down something they found interesting, notable, artistic, or enlightening.
Sophomore Nathan Farris said he didn’t know that Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) was political, pointing out the editorial cartoons displayed in one of the exhibits.
“I like how he just went after America” for not getting involved in World War II until late in thewar, when Hitler’s armies marched across Europe and into Russia.
McKenna Tait noted that the projects on Dr. Seuss were “very colorful,” much like the author’s well-known books for children.
Beneath his verses that rhymed Geisel’s political views were woven into his stories. One example from Yertle the Turtle depicted on orange and lime greenpaper, stated “I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights.”
The exhibits created for Bruner are patterned after the National History Day competitions that are held annually and address various themes.
This year, the students were assigned to research, write and organize a display about why someone “took a stand in history” and made a difference.
Sophomore Tori Busse said the project about Florence Kelley had “a lot of good information and explained who she was really well … and the stand she took.”
Kelley took on child labor reform, reporting on factories that employed children as young as three and four years of age working in tenement sweatshops. Her efforts resulted in the Illinois state legislature passing the first factory law prohibiting employment of children under the age of 14.
The exhibits expose students to historical figures they are not familiar with, such as Rose Schneiderman, one of the most prominent female labor union leaders.
A project that attracted a lot of attention this year, Bruner said, was about Margaret Sanger, a woman who became a nurse probationer in 1900 and wrote books about abortion and birth control. She grew up in the late 1800s with 11 siblings. Her mother died when she turned 40.
This project “gives them a chance to practice their research skills but it also includes a variety of other skills,” such as working cooperatively in a group and using the talents of those in the group to convey the message and create an appealing presentation, Bruner said.
A project that still stands out in his mind is one about D-Day and the Allied landingsat Normandy in 1944. The students created a background of sand that covered the exhibit and represented the beaches where the soldiers died.
This year, besides the colorful Seuss projects, another that stood out for its background wason Impressionism and the artists whose work was rejected by the Salon de Paris and not allowed to be exhibited. Yet the artists such as Monet, Manet and Morisot continued to paint. The colorful water lilies of Monet served as the background of the exhibit about the artists.
Story By: Connie Woodard