Tyrone high school students create public art to teach history at the middle school

Chalk it out!

Last Wednesday US Civics and World Cultures classes at TAHS took a break from their normal classroom routine to do something that is usually reserved for elementary students at recess: they got to break out the sidewalk chalk and draw!

The 10th and 11th grade students in Mrs. Tracy Redinger, Mr. Todd Cammarata, and Mr. Cummins McNitt’s classes created a timeline of United States and world history from 1789 to the present in sidewalk chalk in front of the middle school.  The purpose of the project was to educate and entertain the middle school students and give them a unique opportunity to learn about history right in front of them.

To see photos of the entire timeline, click the related stories or the links below:

Middle school principal Kristen Pinter said “It was very cool and I heard students excitedly talking about it in the afternoon.”

Tyrone high school social studies teachers Todd Cammarata and Tracy Redinger got the idea at a conference that they attended earlier this year.

The students opted to work in groups of two or by themselves. Each were assigned a four year time period – the term of a US presidency –  to research and come up with a design for their assigned block of the sidewalk.  The civics classes focused on events within the United States and the world cultures classes highlighted things that happened outside the U.S.

Students included major historical events, famous people, inventions, leaders, trends and pop culture on their timelines.

“The chalk timeline was an awesome idea. I loved creating something that the middle school kids could look at and learn from,” said Tyrone tenth grader Paige Umholtz.

Sixth grade teacher Robyn Chamberlain brought her afternoon classes out to see the work.

“The sixth grade students were interested and excited about the chalk timeline and drawings illustrating events in history.  They certainly were attracted to the segments they have studied in classes so far.  They also enjoyed the timeline section which contained their life span,” said Chamberlain. “It was an excellent way for students to show their knowledge through an non-traditional activity.”

Mrs. Elaine Conrad liked the project because it reinforced things that her students have been studying in class.

“Students were able to see and learn additional facts about our units of study from the 1940’s to present day,” said Conrad.

The middle school students weren’t the only ones to notice the chalk timeline.  Several Tyrone residents also got to see the public art on their daily walk past the school.

Tyrone resident Mary Wagner, who walks around the high school every night with her husband, enjoyed seeing the student’s work.

“The project was so neat! We had fun reading all the information about the particular years,” said Wagner.

The rain was the only disappointing part of the project”

— Mr. Todd Cammarata

Unfortunately, even though rain was not in the forecast for several days when the students began the project, Mother Nature washed the work away less then 16 hours after the students began their work.

“The rain was the only disappointing part of the project,” said Cammarata, “we were hoping that the art would make it to the weekend so that more students could see it, but Mother Nature obviously had other plans.”

Although this was the first year of the project, it may continue in the future due to its success.