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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chavez History Fair II

Let's go back in time to last Saturday morning for the Chavez History Fair. This was the first time Chavez has had all its 8th-graders take on a History Fair project. The school's theme was World War II, and every student or team of students sliced off a small subtopic related to the war and researched it.

My favorite presentation was about women spies of World War II. School Lady's second-oldest daughter was part of a four-girl team. They read about Julia McWilliams Child and her work for the OSS. They also discovered that Hedy Lamarr had helped invent an early version of frequency-hopping and tried to convince the U.S. government to use the technology to protect radio-guided torpedoes from enemy attempts to jam their guide signals.

The one I noticed that had a real thesis attached was a young man named Emannuel's argument that the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unjustified. Though he agreed with the U.S. military's assessment at the time, that Japan would not surrender without either a nuclear attack or a prolonged ground war, he argued that the nuclear option harmed such large numbers of civilians and created so much long-term environmental damage that even a bloody ground war would have been better. I asked him where he was going and he said "probably Kelly." If you're a Kelly staff member reading this, he might be a good candidate for your IB program, or a replacement when somebody you already admitted wipes out.

One of the Brady girls worked with a partner on a presentation about the invasion of Poland as the beginning of World War II. She knew that Germany had conceded territory to Poland after World War I, but she didn't know the argument that the harsh reprisals against Germany and the high cost of reparations were factors in German popular support for Hitler's warmongering.

And Junior, who came over a while ago to work on his project about Latino heroes of World War II, had his board, photos and a popsicle-stick model of the little concrete structure in which a sniper would sit. Now I can't remember the name of it. Though his project was no great shakes as a piece of historical research, his photos were all from the right time period. And he worked hard on it--yay, Junior.

Some other kid's board actually had a Civil War battle scene with Abe Lincoln's face superimposed up in the top right corner. Ouch. Hope we don't see any anachronistic wonders like that next year. On the bright side, they had enough judges they didn't even ask me to do it.

On the even brighter side, Joey's whole 6th-grade teacher team wants to come out to his exhibit next week. That is really cool of them to make time for him over their own spring break (Chavez has two weeks since it is year-round).

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