As part of a “Social Activism” project, seventh graders have been studying the impact of activists on society during the early 1800s, and each student selected a group of three activists who championed a particular cause or used a particular form of activism. Helen chose the topic of gender equality / women’s rights. The three activists in this group were Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, and Emma Watson – two from the early 1800s and one from the present. We wanted our students to make the connection: social activism is still a huge part of our democracy.
Students needed to research their topics and their activists, then use their own interpretations / beliefs and their research to do two things: write a three-page research paper and create a stand-alone presentation in digital form. The presentations will be archived. Helen’s paper looked at the women’s rights movement as it appeared in the worlds of three activists, but for her presentation she focused on Watson.
Using non-fiction film making techniques Helen’s project shows what students can do "if we hand them the reins to their own learning," reports Emily Rubinfield, history department chair. Guidelines are set and a goal is established. From that point the kids’ ideas and creativity come pouring out under their own volcanic power. One of the best traits of our classes is that the kids cheer each other on; her class loved Helen’s originality and hard work. To see Helen's video click here.