Research projects about the Civil War, prepared by about 280 Olentangy Liberty Middle School eighth-graders, were displayed May 17 in the school's halls and classrooms.

Research projects about the Civil War, prepared by about 280 Olentangy Liberty Middle School eighth-graders, were displayed May 17 in the school's halls and classrooms.

The eighth-grade history curriculum has focused on the Civil War for a month.

"(The project) is combined through English and American history," said English teacher Joe Cherubino. "The English part is doing the research and the write up and the history being (the topic)."

Students got to create their project "from the ground up," Cherubino said.

"They had to pick a topic related to the Civil War and research and determine how to display that information," Cherubino said.

History teacher Jared Mills said, "Students ... were challenged to become experts on their given topic by creating essential questions, guiding their own research, citing their sources and creating a unique way to present their information in a museum-like setting."

Katie Hobbs studied the personal life of Abraham Lincoln.

She enjoyed learning that he played golf and soccer and was a swimmer.

Coline Bourne looked at the conspiracy theories about Lincoln's assassination.

"Some people thought (vice president) Andrew Johnson was involved," said Bourne. "Others thought it was the Roman Catholic Church."

Bourne said he found interesting facts on the theories, but didn't think too many of them held up.

Of the conspiracy theories he looked at, he found the Andrew Johnson one possible, because a note from John Wilkes Booth was found in Johnson's mailbox.

Hayley Hickman researched religion during the war.

She found that chaplains served at home, comforting the families, and at the battlefield comforting the soldiers.

Hickman said she was surprised to find "how strong the soldiers were in their religion (amid) all the fighting."

Jessica Pickard's project was a "house divided," which looked at how the war divided families, with brothers or fathers fighting on different sides.

"A lot of times they would find each other dead on the battlefield, which is really sad," Pickard said.

These types of projects allow students to "take ownership of their learning and display the skills they have developed," Mills said.

The work "does two things," said Cherubino. "It allows the creative kids to be really creative, but beyond that it challenges all the kids to really think for themselves and take some ownership and independence in what they're learning. ... It really is all about them and their thinking and ideas."

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