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Challenges and Accomplishments: 7th Grade Disability Project
Posted 02/08/2019 02:57PM

Barnesville seventh graders have been researching notable people who have worked to overcome challenges related to a physical or mental disability. Students wrote biographical essays and created PowerPoint presentations with facts about the individual, the disability, and how it influenced their life and career. Dressed in character, the students gave oral presentations about their subject’s challenges and accomplishments.

“The dramatization component of this project is really important,” said Middle School Language Arts Teacher Tara Barnhart. “When the kids know they’ll be taking on the role of the person they’re researching, they get really engaged and excited.”

“There was a man who was paralyzed, but still wrote 15 books and did research on black holes,” Sam wrote about Stephen Hawking. “Even though he was paralyzed and was supposed to live a short life, he lived for seventy-six years and did some pretty amazing things.”

For his presentation, Sam used a voice synthesizer like the one Stephen Hawking used to communicate for the later part of his life.

Daniil, posing as Tom Cruise, shared that it is estimated that 15-20% of the world’s population has dyslexia.  On display, he also included a sample phrase written on paper as a person with dyslexia would read it.

Reflecting on Frida Kahlo’s full life as an artist despite battling the lasting impacts of childhood Polio, Grace said, “I learned that we don’t realize how lucky we are. I say this because so many people in the world have horrible diseases. They go through pain and torture every day.”

Individuals featured in the 2019 7th Grade Language Arts Disability Project were:

  • Stephen Hawking

  • Frida Kahlo

  • Sir Douglas Bader

  • Roy Campanella

  • Stevie Wonder

  • Libby Clegg

  • Keira Knightley

  • Tom Cruise

  • Michael Jackson

  • Helen Keller

  • Howie Mandell

  • Caitlyn Jenner

  • Verne Troyer

  • Sean Boyale

  • Marlee Matlin

  • Keanue Reeves

Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences is an independent private school in Montgomery County, Maryland offering innovative preschool through 8th grade programs. Cross-curricular teaching encourages students to explore how subjects relate to one another, helping them to make connections that spark inquiry and deepen understanding. Small classes enable skilled teachers to engage each child in an academically challenging environment.

An independent private school in
Montgomery County, Maryland
offering innovative preschool
through 8th grade programs.

Barnesville School

21830 Peach Tree Road
PO Box 404
Barnesville, MD 20838

p: 301.972.0341
f: 301.972.4076


We offer a vigorous academic program for students as well as engaging, hands-on learning experiences.


Our positive, supportive learning environment promotes imagination, exploration, personal growth, and achievement.

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