Below are summaries of the five History Challenges for the upcoming school year. Please keep in mind these three things:
- The full Challenges will deliver considerably more detail in terms of Challenge Terms, Range of Activities, Essential Questions, Student Outcomes, Development and Production Process, Curricular Correlations and Evaluation Rubrics.
- The website is expanding its offerings of support documents and Innovator and Artist videos that will assist students and teachers in the completion of these Challenges.
- The dates in parentheses are the due dates and may shift. However, please keep in mind that classes can actually produce the Challenges well before the due dates, if desired: there are no defined starting dates. They simply must be submitted by the due dates.
OK, enough on the peripherals…read on!
Challenge #1 – Pitching Public Art (January 25)
Create a pitch film that is targeted toward the local school board about the design and creation of a new work of public art that will be displayed on school grounds. The public art should be designed to reflect the identity of your school as well as engage the youth of your community in a positive and thought-provoking way.
This Challenge begins with research: research about what the community wants; what the Administration wants; what kind of ‘public art’ might work in a school setting and where this work should be displayed.
The design needs to reflect at least three different elements of the history or character of your school and your team must include at least one interview in the pitch.
In Maine, there is the Maine County Song about the sixteen counties of Maine that most students learn in elementary school. For many teachers, elements of grammar were taught through Schoolhouse Rock, which featured songs such as ‘Conjunction Junction’ and ‘Unpack Your Adjectives’.
Now it’s your turn. Create a music video – rock, country, rap or hip-hop…any style of music desired — that communicates the following information to a group of your peers.
- The names, geographical identification and one key fact about Middle Eastern countries (as defined by Iran to the East, Israel to the West, Turkey to the north and Yemen to the South); OR
- The names, geographical identification and distinguishing characteristics of the 15 former Soviet Republics; OR
- A selection (of your choice) of eight key countries that used to be a part of the British Empire, the years they became independent and one statement as to why; OR
- The names, geographical identification and one key fact about the provinces of Canada.
Meridian Stories is teaming up with Maine’s Boys to Men* for this provocative Challenge. Here we go: Identify gender stereotypes about boys and men, OR, girls and women. Then create a 2-3 minute video (documentary, mockumentary or exposé-style news piece) that:
- Exposes these gender stereotypes;
- Shows examples of people resisting these stereotypes (or imagines ways they might); and
- Demonstrates how others have reacted (or might react) to these examples of non-conformance to gender stereotypes.
Each team’s video can include up to 30 seconds of footage from other sources.
Boys to Men is a Maine non-profit whose mission is “to reduce interpersonal violence by offering programs that:
• Support the healthy development of adolescent boys
• Provide assistance and educational resources to boys and those who help raise them
• Increase community awareness about the specific needs of boys.”
Brown v Board of Education … Miranda v. Arizona … Bush v. Gore … District of Columbia v. Heller: these and many other earth–shattering Supreme Court decisions have contributed to the shape of the nation today. Each case is also rife with vengeance, egotism, deep intelligence, hysteria, unpredictability and much, much more. In short, the elements of a really good story!
Pick a 20th or 21st century seminal Supreme Court Case – teacher must pre-approve the choice – and create a two minute movie trailer advertising the conflicting positions taken, the characters involved and the drama that ensued. The teams cannot use the imovie trailer template, but they may use it as a model for how to design a movie trailer.
Challenge #5 – Memorial Day Audio Biography (May 31)
Memorial Day has an interesting history. It started out, in 1868, as day to honor those who died in the Civil War and was called Decoration Day based on the tradition of decorating graves with flowers. This day was designated for the end of May because, it is believed, that is when flowers are in bloom throughout the nation. It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day became a federal holiday, it’s definition having expanded earlier in the century to include all the men and women who died serving our country.
Every single person that is commemorated on Memorial Day has an interesting history as well. In this Challenge, each team must either a) find a person in their community who has died serving their country and create a two to three minute Memorial Day audio biography of that person; or create a character who comes from their community and, in serving the US in a war (of your choice), died. The focus here is on presenting the story of a person’s life – in that time, in your community, in that war — and not just an account of their life. The story can be presented in the first or third person. Only at the end of the audio biography will your team reveal whether or not this was a real or fictional character.