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Indigenous Peoples Day - Learning History for a Purpose

Students pose with their completed policy
Indigenous Peoples Day Project Policy

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School: Boynton Middle School

Class: Social Studies

Grade: 6

Subjects: Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Public Speaking

Project: Students researched the geography and history of Columbus in North America through multiple perspectives and literature. They worked to understand interactions between societies, and how issues and problems have roots in the past. Students integrated geography skills and content through understanding the politics, economy, and cultures in their study of our history. After researching the effects of colonization on indigenous communities by historical figures, and examining bias in historical writing, students were inspired by recent work in cities across the United States to examine the Columbus Day holiday, and arguments for its' revision as Indigenous Peoples day. After developing well-reasoned and substantiated arguments, students acted to participate in the local discussion of this issue at the Ithaca City School Board of Education meeting. Advocating to change the school holiday calendar, their suggestions were accepted by the Board and, on October 9, 2017, the Ithaca City School District celebrated our first Indigenous Peoples Day Recess.

Standards: Multiple New York State Reading, Writing, Social Studies

Service Learning: Participation in local government.