'State fair' a learning exhibit

April 12, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Erica Paylor and Heather Quashnie live in Greencastle, but neither knew much about their home state's dedication to farming or its Quaker population.

But as part of a "State Fair" project, the seventh-graders at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School learned Pennsylvania has more than 170,000 farms averaging 86 acres each, and that the Quakers helped out the Jews during the Holocaust.

"I was surprised to find how many farms there were and their size," Erica said.

Heather incorporated her findings on Quakers into a three-page report, focusing on their "kind and religious ways."

Their display was one of 51 representing the country's 50 states and the District of Columbia during the fair Thursday morning.


Whenever a fellow student approached her display, Kendra Nguyen, 13, immediately launched in to her spiel on the wonderful things about Connecticut.

Her display with Ashley Hutzell, 13, included information on the Iroquois Indians, stained glass making and the size of "The Constitution State."

About 120 seventh-graders under the leadership of teacher Anne Conrad have been working on the projects since September. Every six weeks they presented a different aspect of their state ranging from holiday traditions to native foods, Conrad said.

She said she started the State Fair project this year to go along with the new history curriculum that focused on Colonial America.

Sarah Rider, 12, was having a hard time keeping her poster board display on Arkansas standing up Thursday. It highlighted the state's 51 parks and its zoo with 15 species of animals and 200 species of endangered animals.

Sarah said she used books and the Internet to find out information of Arkansas, right down to the state bird - the mockingbird.

Most of the students had never been to the states they researched before.

While Jaren Gembe, 13, Chad Smith 13, and Mashal Mahmoud, 14, have never set foot in California, through their research they learned about popular tourist spots like the Golden Gate Bridge and the giant redwood trees.

Part of the display also featured information on the founding of Hollywood, including details Jaren found on the famous Hollywood sign. He found out it's 50-feet tall, 450-feet wide and weighs 450,000 pounds.

Tiffany Helfrick, 13, was able to turn her love for rock climbing into her report on West Virginia.

Laden with samples of her climbing gear and a video of some of her climbs, Tiffany talked about the sport and the other outdoor opportunities of West Virginia.

"West Virginia has a lot of sports. I go climbing a lot at Seneca in West Virginia," she said.

Kurtis Wolfinger, 13, said he picked Wyoming to study because it is the setting of a lot of Western movies that he watches.

He researched the hunting activities in the state and learned it has a large population of elk and grizzly bears.

Conrad said the first State Fair was a success, with about 650 students visiting the displays, and she hopes to incorporate it into next year's curriculum.

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