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University Avenue celebrates Black History Month in unique, engaging way

Black history month doors (02/21/20) Leaders at University Avenue Elementary School for Aerospace, Children’s Engineering, and Science (UAE), in Blaine, for the first time, have tried a new and unique way to engage with students during Black History Month in February.

Their idea: door biographies, where each class has created an interactive and decorative biography on their classroom door featuring an African-American leader or innovator. Then, during the month, classes took the chance to explore all of the doors around the school to learn more about dozens of African-Americans who were profiled.

From former First Lady Michelle Obama to athletes like Kobe Bryant and Serena Williams to the inventor of the Super Soaker, Lonnie Johnson, to Maya Angelou to black astronauts and NASA scientists — dozens of individuals were profiled by students and classes. See photos of some of the doors.

Favor, a kindergartener whose class decorated their door to profile Michelle Obama, said it was fun learning about her. “She’s the first black first lady, and she’s helped people be nice to each other,” she said.

Third-grade teacher Marissa Schneider, whose class profiled robotics scientist Dr. Ayanna Howard, said she decided to let her students take the lead on the whole project. “It’s been great to watch them collaborate with each other and work together,” she said. “They really took ownership of the decorating, but also the learning.”

Leaders at UAE said the best part of the project has been students having the chance to learn about African-American innovators from their peers — students learning from students. In addition, the school plans to repeat the project next year.