By TAYLOR HARTZ
The walls, table tops, and shelves in Trish Kenefick’s seventh grade World History classroom at DePaolo Middle School were filled with replicas of the Mayan calendar, ancient Aztec vases, jewelry, masks, and pyramids made of sandpaper, cardboard and sugar cubes.
More than 100 students attend Kenefick’s five classes, and each was asked to create a museum exhibit on ancient civilizations in Latin America and Europe. Students could chose between the Olmec, Toltec, Inca, Mayan, and Aztec clans or focus on explorers Hernando Cortez or Francisco Pizzaro.
The students were given one week to create an informative presentation, and a second week to create a physical project to accompany their report.
“We all had to make artifacts on the place we explored,” explained Morgan Perschy, who studied the Aztecs and created a blue two-headed serpent.
Classmate Alina Rivera made a rock hammer that the Incan tribes used to create their buildings and structures.
Both students created short movies to include with their projects.
Perschy said she chose to focus on the Aztecs because she thought they were “a really popular civilization, so I wanted to learn more about them.”
In their presentations, students were asked to focus on the history, civilization, government, communication and family lives of each of their tribes. Perschy said she was most interested to learn about their religion and sacrifices they made to their gods.
Perschy and Rivera said they learned a great deal about video editing using the Apple program iMovie for their presentations, and both look forward to expanding their knowledge of the program.
“It was great to learn especially for future projects,” said Perschy, who said she and her classmates learned a lot about creative problem solving while editing their movies.
Rivera, who studied the Incas, said it was difficult to identify what she enjoyed most about the project because she learned so much. She said she found it interesting how quickly the population grew, and said that since she hopes to one day visit Machu Picchu, saying she “wanted to explore the area more” in her studies.
As students gave their presentations, their classmates were asked questions and took notes on each of the tribes and explorers.
Kenefick often referenced the students’ artwork and artifact creations that filled the room floor to ceiling, allowing students to learn from their own assignments, as well as their classmates’.