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Fridley Public Schools

Fridley Middle School (FMS) 8th grade students presented their capstone research and analysis History Day projects on April 8 and 9, 2021. This year’s theme was “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.” The 8th graders explored the various methods and modes of communication, how it has advanced overtime, and how it has shaped the present. Student projects ranged from exhibits to well-developed websites.

Working on the project in their Individuals and Societies, and Language and Literature classes, students were able to select their own topic of interest as it relates to the theme. FMS Individuals and Societies teacher Aaron Cuthbert said students excelled at the project, despite changes to learning models and limited timelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I was very impressed with how our students persevered,” said Cuthbert. “They were remarkably flexible through change, and created high quality projects that they should all be proud to share.”

In a typical year, a large-scale History Day presentation is held in the FMS cafeteria. Due to COVID-19 precautions, 8th grade students had to present their projects on a smaller scale to volunteer Fridley High School students who served as judges.

“The connection between our middle school and high school students was very valuable and I would love to build upon this in future years,” said Cuthbert. “Although the middle school students were nervous to present to their older peers, they appreciated getting advice from our volunteer high school students, who were all great role models.”

FHS junior Karina Daniels-Carlson, who served as a volunteer judge, said she enjoyed giving feedback to the students, as she recalled the project when she was an 8th grader herself.

“Right when you walked into the room, you could see all the effort and hard work that these students put into their projects,” she said. “They were well done and show a lot of promise. These research and analysis skills are important as you get into higher levels of classes, especially writing the thesis statement.”

As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, the annual History Day project allows students to put their Middle Years Programme (MYP) Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills to practice. ATL skills, which consist of self-management, communication, research skills, social skills and critical thinking skills, empower students to succeed and challenge themselves to meet objectives of assessment projects. The ATL prepares them for future success as they pursue the rigorous IB Diploma Programme or IB Career-related Programme at Fridley High School.