What do the black racer snake, the gas mask, and Lili Reinhart all have in common?
As fourth-graders at Schultz Elementary School would tell you at the Ohio History Fair Thursday, they are all from Ohio.
During the two sessions of the fair, fourth-grade students prepared and presented research about a variety of topics — Ohio places, state animals, famous individuals and historic events — to other students and adults roaming around the commons.
Fourth-grade social studies teacher Sarah Heald said the project, which students have been working on since early April, is meant to teach students about research and how to write essays.
“It’s the culminating project of the year,” Heald said. “It’s been a long process, not just one week. I feel like they picked a wide-variety of topics. We’re trying to get them to think bigger this year.”
Heald said students could do a slideshow or poster board with facts, and the students also had to present their projects to the class before the fair.
“They’ve been teaching other kids,” Heald said.
Brendan Keller did his project on the 1913 flood in Delaware, and he told students about how high the water was and the “not so fun facts” about the 465 people who died during the flood.
“It was very interesting to learn about Ohio’s past,” Keller said. “(Downtown) seems different now. It’s changed a lot.”
Keller said he enjoyed making his tri-fold poster board and doing research.
“One of the best things is that I got to be creative,” he said.
Across the aisle from Keller, Marley Foster was presenting information about the black racer snake, which is close to his heart.
“I love snakes,” Foster said. “I have a boa constrictor at home. The black racer is the state reptile and is in all 88 counties.”
Foster said he enjoyed learning “everything he didn’t know” about the black racer snake.
Likewise, Namit Hajyasin used the project as an excuse to research one of her favorite things, the Columbus music duo Twenty One Pilots.
“I really like almost all of their songs, and I was really interested in researching them,” Hajyasin said. She said her favorite part was doing internet research.
Alex Simmons did his project on the fires that happened on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, specifically the June 1969 fire.
“I wanted to know how it actually happened,” Simmons said. “It was kind of interesting to learn how a river caught on fire.”
According to Simmons, the river was extremely polluted at the time, which made it flammable. Simmons’ project shows what the cleaned up river looks like today and discusses the Clean Water Act, which helped the river.
Mallory Curry also did her project on something from Cleveland, actress Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper on “Riverdale.”
“She’s in many shows but especially ‘Riverdale,’” Curry said. “She inspires me, and I liked learning all about her.”
Curry said she did some research on the internet and also read a biography for the project.
One of the oldest projects at the fair, in terms of subject, was Morgan Carter’s presentation about woolly mammoths, which lived in the Ohio area during the Ice Age, tens of thousands of years ago.
“They are very big, and I thought they were very cool and majestic,” Carter said.
Carter added she enjoyed the project and the presentation.
“I liked that you had to work as yourself,” she said. “I thought it was very cool that I actually know how to write essays now. I enjoyed it. I would do it again.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.