Fourth graders in Mrs. Melissa Welch’s history class made Christmas ornaments representing different topics they have learned this year. When the students brought their creations to class, they decorated the classroom “HisTREE.” The project celebrated Christmas, creativity, and learning.
“Each student designed an ornament to represent a topic discussed in their history textbook this year. Then they got to write a short paragraph with five specific facts about that topic,” Welch said. “In fourth grade, we study US History. This project gave students an opportunity to research a particular topic that they wanted to learn more about.”
The ornaments covered many different topics. “Toni did an amazing job recreating the Wright Brothers’ first airplane, which we just studied in our last chapter. Ashlyn created a clay ornament honoring George Washington, our first President. Mason made an ornament fashioned like a baseball, representing Babe Ruth, who we talk about when we study entertainment during the Roaring Twenties. Addie designed an ornament representing labor unions, child labor, and Newsies of the late 1800s. Parker designed an ornament that illustrated the California Gold Rush, which we studied during the Westward Expansion of the United States. Sadie used a 3D Pen to create a representation of one of the first telephones designed and patented by Alexander Graham Bell. Olivia built an ornament out of candy to demonstrate the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad with the hammering in of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869. Everett made an ornament to honor Albert Einstein, the famous physicist. Daryl created an ornament to honor Benjamin Banneker, who was the first person in America to invent the clock, among other amazing accomplishments,” Welch said.
Welch discovered a similar assignment when looking for a history-related Christmas activity online, and she adapted the project to fit her fourth-grade class. The students enjoyed the hands-on learning experience.
“My favorite thing about this project was eating candy as I worked,” said Olivia. “I learned a lot because I watched a movie about the Transcontinental Railroad before writing my paragraph. Some of the track-builders found gold along the way, and to celebrate the completion of the railroad, they hammered in a golden spike.”
Sadie enjoyed the creative process. “My favorite part was making the ornament because I got to do it with my dad, and it was really fun to play with my 3D pen,” she said.
“My favorite thing about this project was working together with my parents. I learned that Benjamin Banneker was a great surveyor and mapped out the city of Washington, DC,” Daryl said.
Welch’s first year with the “HisTREE” project was a success. She plans to refine the project for next year and expand the display to showcase the paragraphs in her classroom.