Jodi Newton (left) and Hunter Flaw show off their ghost towns of Alberta heritage project

Students wow with historical projects

“Some of the finest projects in Alberta come from Ponoka.” Rob Lennard, author, History Wrangler

St. Augustine’s grades 4 and 5 students breath new life into the past with the passion they hold for their Alberta Heritage Fair projects.

The fair — April 11 — encompassed 40 students, 23 projects and a nation’s wealth of history to spark their interest.

“Alberta Heritage Fair promotes inquiry-based learning about Alberta and Canada history,” said St. Augustine teacher Kari Brackenbury.

The students chose their topic based on personal interest and, with a few guiding lessons from teachers, were handed the reins. “Academically it touches two curriculums, social and language arts, both skills and content. It’s the perfect combination of research, writing, presenting and speaking,” said Brackenbury.

“They’re very highly motivated . . . They’re motivated by their own choices. They get to pick what they do, the angel they take,” she added.

While this is a mandatory project for the Grade 4 students, it wasn’t for Grade 5, who entered last year as Grade 4 students in the first year the school participated in the Alberta Heritage Fair. “This year the Grade 5s voted if they would do it or not, they voted yes,” said Brackenbury.

The Alberta Heritage Fair is a 19-year-old program sponsored by the Historical Society of Alberta and contains three levels: the school level, the regional level and a video component level.

The History Wrangler and award-winning author Rob Lennard was also in attendance of the fair, helping judge the projects.

He presented the school with a video camera and tripod to allow the students to shoot two to five minute movies of their project presentations, which will be judged by Lennard and a Gemini award-winning movie producer.

The students who produce the top five videos from the central region will be eligible to win a trip to Ottawa.

“We’re looking for the presentation, impression, originality,” said Lennard; judges were also looking for level of historical research.

“Some of the finest projects in Alberta come from Ponoka,” he added.

Jodi Newton and her project partner Hunter Flaws did their project on ghost towns of Alberta, and their work also included a “Pin the ghost town on the province” game to engage judges and other students. “Our teacher said more people would come if we had something they could do,” said Newton.

Other projects at the fair included Tim Hortons, Father Lacombe, the fur trade, Ukraine-Canadians and the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.


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