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Social Studies – Essays and Exhibitions

February 8, 2023 | Sam Martino

Middle school students have been hard at work on their social studies research essays. Classes have been studying the Stone Age. While there is a lot of content to sift through, this period of history can be a challenge. Students have had to think creatively and critically when it comes to doing research. 

A student working on adding citations to their essay.

Information about the Stone Age comes in many different forms. Because there are no written accounts middle schoolers needed to analyze a variety of sources. Some students have been studying the meaning and purpose of cave paintings. Others have focused on learning what they can from old tools and fossilized remains.

Students have been studying other Hominid Species.


The process started with each student picking an area of interest to investigate. Some of the chosen topics were stone age tools, early communication and language, diet, migration, and comparisons of different hominid species. 

This group studied Homo Rudolfensis. They noted some similarities and key differences with other species.


Once they gathered sufficient evidence, students crafted a thesis they could support with evidence. Students are now working to develop an essay discussing the information found and connecting it back to their main idea. 


Students have been practicing formal essay writing.


The 7th Graders will go one step further and present their findings in the history exhibition. Using a TED Talk-style, the 7th grade will walk through the main ideas of their essay, share the evidence they found, and prepare some visuals. 

Some 6th graders editing their essays.

6th Grade is using the information gathered to develop a research outline. They can use the skills they practice this year to help them for next year’s exhibition. The 8th grade (already experts at writing essays and already having completed an exhibition) will complete a full written research essay.

Sam Martino

Teacher, Grade 8

Sam Martino is the 8th Grade homeroom teacher and Middle School Social Studies teacher. He graduated from Fordham University in 2014 with a bachelor of arts in history. Before joining the staff in 2015, Mr. Martino worked as a substitute teacher at Mustard Seed School. During his time as a substitute, he was able to work with every elementary and middle school class. Mr. Martino’s connection to Mustard Seed School goes back much further, however. He first connected with Mustard Seed in 1999 when he enrolled as a second-grade student. In 2006, Mr. Martino graduated from Mustard Seed School. His mother served as a member of the Board of Trustees, and Mr. Martino’s two brothers also graduated from Mustard Seed. A lifelong Hoboken resident, Mr. Martino is excited to continue working with students in a unique urban community. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, music, and movies. He can often be seen lugging instruments around town as he travels to and from practices and shows.

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