Freshmen flex their artistic muscles for unique research assignments.
Ninth graders in Dr. Ellen Zitani’s classes gave presentations this week as part of their World History Creative Projects. Each freshman completed thorough research about a civilization from Africa or the Americas and shared what they learned by creating a children's book, a video, or a museum exhibit.
The World History Creative Project builds upon the research skills learned from the "No Paper Research Paper Project" that all freshmen complete in their English classes each fall. The goal of the project is for students to use their creative energies to showcase research in an inventive, nonlinear way. In addition to guidance from Dr. Zitani and research assistance from Miss Mandel, students worked with Ms. Romero and Mrs. Garasic in the art department to fine-tune their final pieces.
Presentation topics ranged from the ancient civilizations of Carthage, Egypt, and the Toltecs, to the Inuits, Chumash, and Great Zimbabwe. Students sculpted a war elephant from clay, built a bow and arrow, drew maps, wrote and illustrated storybooks, and recreated ancient rock art. The diversity of projects truly showed the breadth and depth of the students' creativity.
Along with learning the history of these ancient civilizations and how people lived thousands of years ago, students gained knowledge about cultures that can be applied to present-day life.
"People today should learn from the Chumash people's resilience," said Kaitlyn Roman '25. "They nearly became extinct due to the brutality of settlers in California during the Gold Rush, but they managed to survive. They kept their culture alive and today, it is flourishing. In 2001, the Chumash Maritime Association built a 26-foot long tomol and voyaged across the California Channel to raise awareness of their civilization and connect the modern-day Chumash to their ancestors. The Chumash people managed to keep their culture alive in the midst of struggle, which is something all people should learn from."