Justin Bieber, Dr. Seuss, JZ Knight and Seabiscuit. These were just a few of the topics chosen by Phoenix Rising middle school students for an extensive research project that culminated in a series of presentations this week. Here’s what they had to say about their topic, what they learned and why this person, animal, thing or mythological character is a hero.
Why did you pick your topic?
Evan: Because my first topic, which was Suzanne Collins, was a bit too difficult for me so my mom came up with the idea of Dr. Seuss.
William: I picked World War I because it was cool – a big event.
Airies: I wanted to do something that I liked and was interested in, and I liked Facebook.
Natasha: The reason I studied and presented the redwood tree was because I narrowed it down to two choices. It was cats and redwood trees, but I know a lot about cats, so I decided to do redwood trees. I had a lot of fun presenting and making people laugh.
Chambolion: Because you and my mom gave me the idea when I was very upset about having to do another presentation. When you said Michael Jackson, I thought it was a good idea. I love dancing and so I decided to do him, which turned out to be a good thing.
Kaylyn: I picked JZ Knight because I was trying to figure out somebody that I wanted to do. I was sitting in my living room and thinking, “Who is a hero that has an autobiography that I could get?” and my mom said, “What about JZ?” I thought, “What a great idea!”
Daniela: I chose Seabiscuit because he was an American legend and he inspired me a lot. I like horses.
Lilly Faye: I was thinking really hard about a topic and having a hard time. I was thinking about movies, and then I was thinking about movie creators, and that’s how I picked Walt Disney.
Galeon: I picked Justin Bieber because he’s my hero.
Naimah: I chose my topic because I like cars. I like how they look.
Jainkoa: I picked the kakapo parrot because it is on the endangered species list. It’s almost extinct.
Noah: I picked Barack Obama because he’s the President of the United States. I thought people should know more about him.
Trajan: I picked Jason and the Argonauts because I like Greek mythology and I was studying Hercules, but I know so much about him, so I decided to research Jason and his adventures.
What was the greatest thing you learned?
Evan: Probably that Dr. Seuss was afraid of children. I thought it was kind of funny. He didn’t have any children, of course. And he made children’s books. It’s kind of surprising.
William: The during World War I, the Russians were still using cavalry, like lancemen, while the Germans were using tanks. They had a pretty low level of technology.
Airies: That Facebook is the biggest social networking site in the world, not just America.
Natasha: I knew that redwood trees were really tall and everything, but I didn’t know that they can live up to 2,000 years and they can hold more than 1,000 gallons of water.
Chambolion: One thing was about all of the contributions Michael Jackson made. He gave sixty million dollars to help fight AIDS.
Astroleah: Something that I learned was that German Shepherds work with the police and there were a lot of German Shepherds that were used in World War I.
Daniela: A lot of things that happened in Seabiscuit’s life, like the fact that he was in 89 races and only won 33 of them.
Lilly Faye: The greatest thing I learned was about how Walt Disney thought of the idea to invent color movies with sound.
Galeon: I didn’t learn much because I already knew everything about Justin Bieber, but I like to share things with others. I did learn time management. I normally have a hard time finishing projects on time, but this time I made a little schedule and had everything due at a certain time. I just made it due in my head, and then I actually got to it, so I finished on time.
Naimah: To me it was interesting that the Mini Cooper wasn’t a Cooper in the beginning – it was just a Mini. Later on they added the “Cooper.” I really like Mini Coopers.
Noah: I learned that Barack Obama moved to and from five different places. First he lived in Hawaii, then he moved to Indonesia, then back to Hawaii, then to Seattle, then back to Hawaii and then to New York. That’s where he went to Columbia.
Trajan: I learned that Jason was a hero to Romans and Greeks.
What did you consider heroic about your topic?
Evan: Dr. Seuss helped kids learn and learn to read.
William: After World War I, it became more about how many guns you had instead of how strong you were. It changed warfare. Before that, it was all charges but by World War II it was more about bombs.
Airies: Mark Zuckerburg created a really great website; what would anyone do without Facebook?
Natasha: Redwood trees can be used for wood products like screen doors, tables and furniture, but mostly they’re a hero because since they’re the tallest, they could probably absorb carbon dioxide and put out oxygen. Without any of these trees, we wouldn’t be doing so well. We’d be sick all the time. I think trees are a hero.
Chambolion: A lot of black musicians weren’t treated as well as white musicians and Michael Jackson really changed that.
Kaylyn: I consider JZ a hero because she’s donated a lot of money to college funds and she’s really, really helpful, especially to young people.
Daniela: To me, Seabiscuit was a hero because back in the day he helped people during the Great Depression. He was a symbol of joy and hope. Also, a lot of people thought he couldn’t do anything, but he really could.
Lilly Faye: Walt Disney wanted to uplift people’s spirits because of the Great Depression. He is my hero because he wanted to make people happy by watching good films.
Galeon: Justin Bieber donates a lot of money to charities, and he had a dream and he didn’t give up on it. And he’s extremely hot.
Naimah: The heroic part of cars is that they get you places.
Jainkoa: It’s the only bird that has a lek breeding system. It’s nocturnal, and it can’t fly.
Noah: Because Barack Obama brought change to America.
Trajan: Jason is my hero because he did a lot of stuff that no man could do.