History comes alive at Sierra Vista during the school’s first ever ‘Night at the Museum’

Sierra Vista Middle School hosted its first ever “Night at the Museum” on Thursday, Feb. 2, showcasing scores of impressive student projects created for this year’s National History Day competition. There were exhibits, websites, performances, research papers and even documentaries to check out — all based on historical events and tied to the contest’s theme, “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.”

Sierra Vista kids have previously won National History Day honors at the county and state levels, and this year’s projects were said to be the best ever. Teacher Cathy Turner, who helped organize the big event, sent us this report.

Last night hundreds of parents and students wandered the campus of Sierra Vista Middle School enjoying a Night at the Museum. On display were student individual and group exhibits, websites, papers and documentaries for the 2012 National History Day competition, Revolution, Reaction and Reform. National History Day is a competition that makes history come alive for America’s youth. Each project engages the students in research and analysis – uncovering the historic, cultural and social experiences of the past. These experiences and presentations prepare today’s youth to be able to inform the present and shape the future.

Student exhibits were in the Multi-Purpose Room. Exhibits stand at almost six feet and contain captions, graphs, timelines and electronic devices. Walking the aisles, visitors viewed Rosie the Riveter, with her fist raised, recalling the importance of women in World War II, where Fauvism and the work of Henri Matisse recalled his creation of an artistic movement characterized by the use of vivid colors, and where the work and contributions of Henry Ford was evaluated in Henry Ford: The Efficacy of the Assembly Line on Manufacturing. While standing in front of the Ford display visitors were treated to a Model T façade outfitted with working headlights.

The library allowed parents and students to view the documentaries and read the students’ papers. Parents and students were able to view, either on a computer or large screen projection, such topics as “Avengers of Haiti: Revolutionaries in the New World,” or “The Indian Independence Revolution Lead by Mahatma Gandhi,” or “The Vietnam War: A Revolution Sparking Wide-Spread Reaction and Reform.” The student documentaries require skills in using photographs, film, video, audiotapes, computers, and graphic presentations. Then all that information must be compiled into a cohesive, cogent ten minute presentation.

Moving through the campus center and over to the computer lab, moms, dads, sons and daughters found the websites. Individuals, student groups, families gathered around a computer to click their way through the history of germs, the lives of great thinkers and reformers like John Locke, and the world impact of the Russian and French Revolutions. These historical web sites contain a collection of web pages ,interconnected by hyperlinks, that presents primary  and secondary sources, interactive multimedia, and historical analysis. They incorporate textual and non-textual material like photographs, maps, music, etc. into the website. All were delighted by both the scope of the research and the enormous talent of the web designers.

Through the work of National History Day, our students have learned the skills and techniques of the historian. Our winners will move to the next level of competition, Orange County. Success at the county level leads to the state competition. At any one of these levels, they have the opportunity to meet students from other schools, exchange ideas, and demonstrate the results of their work. And if this year is like our previous two years, we will send students to the University of Maryland for the national competition.

Please go to www.MrMillersHistory.com  to watch a series of short videos of last night’s exhibits, websites, and documentaries.

A special thank you to Jonathan Millers, Cathy Turner, Christina Ralston, Christina Wright, Barbara Hall, and Janel Millers for all of their hard work and leadership to make this an amazing night for Sierra Vista’s students, parents, and the community.