History Fair 2018


Every year, Lewie's elementary school runs a completely voluntary academic fair.  In first grade, it was a geography fair; in second grade, it was a science fair; and this year, it was a history fair.  At first, he joked with me and said he wanted to do his project on the history of Minecraft; however, when he knew I was not even considering the topic, he immediately selected Abraham Lincoln. 

I knew why he selected our 16th President.  First, we had read some interesting facts about him in the the book, Abe Lincoln at Last!  It was one of Lewie's favorite books from The Magic Tree House Series, so we set out to read it again.  However, we soon learned that Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce wrote a nonfiction companion book to Abe Lincoln at Last called the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Abraham Lincoln. We discussed the differences between fiction and nonfiction and then read the Fact Tracker book to learn more about his childhood, life, and presidency.  The book was a real page-turner.  In less than four days, we read it cover to cover wishing there was more.  As we know, President Lincoln's life abruptly ends after he is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.  When Lewie typed out all his facts, he refused to use the assassin's name:  "I don't want to use his name, Mommy," he said to me rather surprisingly.  "He shouldn't become famous for what he did." 

I was amazed that my nine year-old was so perceptive.  "Okay, we don't have to mention his name," I replied.  "You're right.  He's not the one that's important."

We reread the Fact Tracker book once more to decide what details we wanted to mention, and then Lewie set out to type them.  Since Lewie has been learning to type with the Keyboarding Without Tears Program, he was pretty quick.  I helped him with spelling, and before long, we started formatting the text to make it large enough for his tri-fold display board.  I was so proud to say that he truly typed everything by himself--this was a long way from his handwritten facts last year!

We selected pictures to accompany the text, and the rest, shall we say, is history. (HA!)  Actually, after we made the board, we decided to make a short video, too.  I dressed Lewie in his soon-to-be First Communion outfit, and we put on an Abraham Lincoln beard and hat that we bought from Amazon.  Then, he read the Gettysburg Address.  Although this famous speech is relatively short (only ten sentences), the words are difficult.  Even after practicing it all weekend long, Lewie still struggled with some of the word pronunciation.  However, his mistakes were charming; they were representative of his nine year-old self--a snapshot in time that I will forever savor.


The final piece to the project was to teach Lewie how to cite References.  I showed him how to plug in information using the KnightCite Citation Service, and he soon learned how to format both the Fact Tracker book and the movie, Lincoln.  (The movie did show some Civil War violence, but on the whole, it gave Lewie some perspective on this period in history--their dress, their way of speaking, the White House, etc. etc.)

In all, we really enjoyed working on our project this year.  Lewie did a very good job "getting into character," and he learned how history can be fun!  I'm a little sad it's over; I think I'm going to continue seeking out books about Lincoln--what a fascinating life story!


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