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OMS Cultural Fair

The Annual 8th Grade Cultural Fair began when language arts teacher Donna Edwards and social studies teacher Dennis Hironaka took a class called Project REACH. They were looking for an integrated project that would have meaning for both students and teachers. After the math and science teachers embraced the concept, the Cultural Fair Project was born.

"We have continued to use the Cultural Fair for a number of reasons," Hironaka explains. "To begin with, it meets many of the benchmarks at the eighth grade level. Secondly, it is an integrated project, which uses the concepts from math, science, language arts and social studies. Thirdly, it allows students to learn about their heritage and cultures, which many of our students know very little about. Most importantly, it is a fun, hands on activity which students really enjoy doing."

"By doing a team project like the cultural fair, students are able to do one project with several components that all tie together, rather than several independent projects with no connection to each other," says math teacher Dean Solterbeck. "We have such a good buy-in from students because we let them know expectations right up front and they realize that other students as well as parents will be coming to look at their work. Some students enjoy this project because it allows for creativity - how they will present their work. Some use multimedia and others just like to do the scrapbooking type of work to present their project in an interesting way."

Edwards says this year, every student in the 8th Grade Rockets Team participated in the Cultural Fair. "We were very excited to have 100 percent participation from our students for this year's Fair," Edwards notes. "Every student designed a display board. Included with their display boards were their required I-Search Reports, and most students completed travel brochures and computer-generated graphs. It was also rewarding to see the additional research, such as family stories, photographs, and family heirlooms that were incorporated into their displays. Two of our TAG students produced computerized presentations and slide shows."