BUDDING EDITORS: Year Seven students from Byron Bay High School proudly display their mock-up newspaper front page history projects.
BUDDING EDITORS: Year Seven students from Byron Bay High School proudly display their mock-up newspaper front page history projects. Patrick Gorbunovs

Byron High students make history into front page news

WHEN Byron Bay High School teachers wanted to get students enthused about a Year 7 history assignment, they turned the project into front-page news.

The history project - to research unsolved mysteries - steered away from the traditional essay format, and students were instead asked to present their research in the form of a front- page story as if it were to appear in The Northern Star.

History teacher Michelle Lowe's Year 7 class took to the project with gusto, with some students physically cutting and pasting The Northern Star masthead to present their project.

"Writing a 400-word essay can be boring and staid but with this project they were shown how to write eye-catching headlines and have fun writing up their research as a front page story," Ms Lowe said.

"The newspaper front page format lends itself to looking for clues and finding experts to quote."

"With a newspaper article, you can't just have raw facts, you have to mix in interesting quotes and research," he said. "It was more fun than an essay."

SEEING DOUBLE. Twin Year 7 students Summer and Shaun Chaseling from Byron Bay High School with their mock-up front page history projects.
SEEING DOUBLE. Twin Year 7 students Summer and Shaun Chaseling from Byron Bay High School with their mock-up front page history projects. Patrick Gorbunovs

"I gave a lot of background and found an expert's opinion," Shaun said, while his sister Summer said she liked thinking about the headlines to use.

"It was great reading all about it and the different theories of why the people disappeared. The ship was found perfectly intact, with only the captain's navigating equipment taken," Shaun said.

While the students all enjoyed playing at being investigative reporters, they were given one advantage over the real job: word count. They were supposed to stick to a 300-400 word limit, but many of them went over that limit.

"What was important was teaching them to critically examine the sites they are researching ."



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