Vedder middle school was alive with the sights and sounds of long ago eras last week, as more than 300 students took part in an Ancient Civilizations fair.
The library, computer room and all adjoining hallways were filled with student works that ranged from intellectual and artful poster presentations, to 3D models of Viking ships, to complete costumes and performing arts. Each student chose a time period and a subject within that time period to present, and they dove into the project with creativity.
Librarian Jacqui Higginbottom was busy guiding guests and students through the fair on Thursday morning. She noted Kieran Casey, a Grade 7 student who studied the Romans for the fair. With his dad’s help, he created a Scutum, a Roman shield used in battle. It took 16 hours to complete, Casey says. And he painted it red and white, with symbols of lightning and wings to represent the Romans.
Dex Oliver, also in Grade 7, took to a bit of gardening to bring his presentation to life. He recreated an ancient Greek farm, and for the crops he grew wheatgrass for a realistic look. He even devised an Archimedes screw, a machine that drew water from low lying areas to transfer into ditches. He eagerly demonstrates the pump, made of pipe cleaners, dowel and an an assortment of materials.
Does he think he’ll get an A?
He smiles and shrugs, looking over his handmade farm.
In the computer room, Allie Milne and Alyssa Sande, both in Grade 7, are dishing out butter chicken as a screen displays facts they’ve learned about ancient India.
“I’m really interested in the culture,” Milne says.
Out in a hallway, Dongha Oh is surrounded by admirers. The French immersion student has created a display about Renaissance music. But the real draw is his quick and nimble violin playing, as he plays music displayed on a friend’s smart phone.
Johnny King was in full costume, for his “Vikings and their Violent Ways” presentation. Studying the Vikings was a bit eye opening, he says.
This ancient civilization has a reputation for being violent, he says, and it’s well earned. But what he didn’t realize, and what he found most interesting, was that they were quite law-abiding in their minds. They had strict rules to adhere to within their own communities. It was only when they were ravaging other lands that they became the barbaric people we think of.
Among the miniature catapults, sarcophagi, Viking boats, castles, pyramids and so forth, there were students chatting about other cultures, learning through doing, and acting out characters from days long gone.
That included Grayson Braun, in Grade 8, who chose to wear a plague mask. The long beaked bill was designed that way to keep the doctors safe, he said.
“But they put flowers and herbs in the nose to cover the smells,” Braun explains. The masks have an eery look to them, and one was featured recently in the live version of Beauty and the Beast. But Braun doesn’t find it creepy at all.
“They look really cool,” he said.
For more photos from the Ancient Civilizations Fair at Vedder middle school, visit www.theprogress.com/community.