Last spring my students and I embarked on a journey to tell the stories of our community and the impact that Mount St. Helens had on them. To me, having students conduct an oral history project is extremely important. Not only does it allow for students to build research, reading, and writing skills, but also their communication, teamwork, and technology skills. This process, although time consuming and messy, is an amazing experience for students to have.
During the project the students worked in teams to explore how different people from our community experience the mountain in different ways. The students got to film their interviews with parents, a professional photographer, geologists, ecologists, a glaciologist, volcanologists, and others who work on or around Mount St. Helens. Then they wrote up the interview and most teams even made a short film/documentary using the interview footage. Afterwards I have several studnets want to keep working, so they built a website dedicated to hosting their work along with their peers.
Here is the link to the student created website, www.mtsthelensimpact.org Please visit the site to see more about the project, aong with the amazing work that the students did. This project was an important foundation to the work that they then get to do as Freshmen in their biology class. This past September the same studnets get to go up to the mountain, on an overnight field trip, to conduct research on the plant life and ecosystems in the blast zone. The interdisciplinary learning that goes on at our school leads to a more developed student and the real world experiences give them skills and memories that will last a lifetime.