11.29.2023

Presentation of Learning

superhero girl

Superheroes and Supervillains of History

As any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will tell you, people love to love superheroes, but even more importantly, they love to hate supervillains. iLEAD Exploration history facilitator Kylie Dul capitalized on this in her World History class by assigning a final project involving superheroes and supervillains from history. Ms. Dul’s class, offered exclusively to iLEAD Exploration high school learners, involves two weekly live sessions, readings, unique assignments, and plenty of facilitator support and peer interaction. For this culminating semester project, learners were asked to focus on historical figures from each of the four units covered that term.

Selecting four historical figures for their projects, learners turned each one into either a superhero or a supervillain, depending on the person’s role in history. By outlining each person’s superpowers and weaknesses as well as each person’s superhero/supervillain origin story, learners demonstrated both knowledge of the historical person as well the time period in which he or she lived by selecting appropriate and imaginative powers and weaknesses. Last year for the 10th grade World History course, iLEAD learner Kieran Kirkwood-Sturzenacker chose to highlight four women: Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, Anastasiya Nikolayevna, Queen Marie Antoinette, and Olympe des Gouges. Kieran then illustrated them in their superhero and supervillain personas.

One superhero Kieran created was Lady Athena, an important feminist and abolitionist based on real-life 18th-century French activist and playwright Olympe de Gouges. Kieran’s Lady Athena has the power “to telepathically give other women powers, like super strength, smarter minds, super speed.” And although these gifts physically and mentally drain Lady Athena, she ends up deciding to give her superpowers to as many women as she can—even though this incredible power eventually catches the attention of powerful men who have her executed.

Supervillain Queen Luck is Kieran’s imaginative version of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France. Queen Luck’s superpowers allow her to get anything she wants for herself at the cost of removing all good fortune from someone else. Queen Luck needs to be surrounded by large crowds of those she can make unlucky so she can continually grant her own wishes. If she is left alone with no victims in sight, she will slowly transform into solid gold.

Queen Luck (aka Marie Antoinette)
Queen Luck (aka Marie Antoinette)

This wonderful project could be used in any history course, after reading a biography, or even as a character study after reading a novel.

More Work from Kieran

Typhoon (aka Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee)
Typhoon (aka Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee)
Tempest (aka Anastasia Romanov)
Tempest (aka Anastasiya Nikolayevna)

Resources:

Historical Superhero Project Assignment

Historical Superhero Sample

Another Historical Superhero Sample
Semester 2 Live Online Classes - 1

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