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Strathclair class digs deep into provincial history

Student projects encourage personal study rather than just memorizing facts

Many young people no longer know a world where there was an alternative to the internet when doing a school project, such as going to the local library or picking up an encyclopedia.

Although teaching is different than it used to be, schools continue to implement change in finding ways to arm students with the life skills they’ll need to achieve their goals.

At an open house earlier this year, a history class at Strathclair Community School (SCS) showcased how provincial history is being revamped to be deeper and more significant.

“A big part of education today is to really dig deep in learning a subject versus simply memorizing,” said SCS principal, Bobbi-Lynn Geekie. “What is laid out in front of guests today, is the first time the school has put forth this type of project or student display, which breaks the mould in sharing personal trials and tribulations learned through study.”

The Grade 11 class showcased the study and knowledge on a number of subjects by “Using Inquiry to Explore History.”

Brooks Watson, one of the students involved, said the class learned about various topics as a whole, and then each student selected a project study of choice. She selected Canada’s Involvement in the First World War, as “it seemed very interesting and I didn’t know much about it.”

Artifacts for the project were on loan from the Strathclair Museum and there was a homemade replica of a club used for raiding trenches.

“Shaped as a small baseball bat with screws and spikes embedded, I could only imagine the damage it would cause to a soldier,” said Watson. “I left the spikes out and it totally exploded a watermelon.”

Some Indigenous students were interested in studying subjects close to them based on previous generations. “Numbered Treaties” explained how the Indigenous saw the Numbered Treaties as a peace agreement between the Government of Canada and First Nation people. With both sides not wanting a war, some say this was a cheap way for the government to get legal title of the land.

They also studied an emotional “Taking a Historical Perspective on Residential Schools,” with one student using photographs and information of the Birtle Residential School, which still stands overlooking the Birdtail Valley.

The projects were all under the guidance of teacher Bridget Wright, including the “Canadian Food Industry,” with the presenter sharing samples of perogies, pemmican, and bannock.

Studies show that education will continue to see the benefits of the development in technology, and with forward-thinking schools that see the effectiveness of modern strategies, students will reach their full potential through a curriculum freely discussed by both teachers and students.

Today there is more individuality in classrooms, and students are encouraged to express it — a freedom that wasn’t so evident in years past.

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