Unsinkable Enthusiasm

Published 9:52 am Thursday, April 19, 2012


Open Door students probe Titanic, other historic events in fair


Rows of tiny houses sat partially submerged in a plastic tub of water to represent an historic event in Ironton’s history.

Tortilla chips and salsa were offered to accompany information about Mexican culture.

Homemade, miniature cardboard wind turbines represented the advantages and disadvantages of alternative fuels.

These were just a few of the projects on display at the Open Door School’s social studies fair Tuesday.

Each class was commissioned with the task of creating two projects in various social studies subjects, from anthropology to sociology. Classes went on field trips to research and gather materials for their displays.

“This year especially, I think (the student) learned a lot about local history,” said ODS Principal Kendra Kelley. “The staff did a really good job of choosing topics that had to do with Ironton or within the area.”

The pre-vocational II class presented a history project on Tri-State county music.

“The kids in that classroom love country music,” Kelley said. “That was something they were really engaged in. When it’s something they like, it makes for a better learning experience.”

The grand prize winner this year was the intermediate I class and their presentation of the sinking of the Titanic.

Teacher Johnda Carpenter said she chose the project, but her students did the work.

“We had two projects, and this one, they really got into,” Carpenter said. “We had a few (students), they would go home and come back with drawings. We put anything they did on (the project). They really got into this.”

The class also took a field trip to the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center in Ashland, Ky., to view its Titanic exhibit and to do research, which was displayed on a tri-fold poster board.

The students also made a cardboard model of the ship sinking and an iceberg. Plastic toy army men were used as passengers. Styrofoam was carved and painted to resemble lifeboats. Glass fishbowl rocks were uses as sparkling iceberg chunks floating on the cardboard sea.

“We have a very high functioning class and they like to build,” Carpenter said. “So we tried to think of something that would involve constructing something. They really did about 90 percent of it. They got into it and we made a big list of ideas of what we needed.”

The grand prize winning class won a trophy to keep for two years until the next fair.

Each year, the ODS alternates between the social studies fair and a science fair.

Other students from local school districts also assist in preparing the projects, which is a big plus for everyone, Kelley said.

“They did integrated field trips,” Kelley said. “They went to the local schools and the local schools also came here. It was really good experience for everybody.”


Open Door School social studies fair winners


Grand prize

The Titanic, intermediate I


Political Science

1st community workers, primary I

2nd court system, intermediate I



1st Memorial Day Parade, vocational II

2nd Woodland Cemetery ghost stories, pre-vocational I

3rd multicultural games, primary II



1st Mexican culture, pre-vocational II

2nd pottery, primary II



1st 1937 Flood, vocational II

2nd Tri-State County music, pre-vocational II



1st states and capitals, pre vocational I

2nd “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” primary I

3rd land for iron furnaces, intermediate II

Honorable mention: Appalachian Trail, vocational I



1st alternative fuels, windmills, vocational I

2nd iron furnaces, intermediate II