History, School of Liberal Arts
ZOom meeting

Several Siena history education majors served as mentors – and contestants – at a virtual history tournament to help elementary school students hone their history chops.

The HistoryPlunge Tournament of Champions was held February 4 via Zoom and Kahoot!. The Siena contingent partnered with students from Georgia, Washington D.C. and several other locales.

Jennifer Dorsey, Ph.D., professor of history, was approached through the Organization of American Historians to see if her students would volunteer in the tournament. It was sponsored by LearningPlunge, a company that develops educational games to improve knowledge about U.S. history and geography, critical thinking, and social emotional skills for elementary school students, particularly in underserved districts. 

Dorsey’s history students took up the call to assist with the tournament, and to talk with their younger counterparts about why they love history. They tested their skills on presidential facts and identifying historical images in five different categories.

“I was really excited to take part,” said Christopher Estremera ’21, who was one of the highest scorers throughout the event. “It was great to see how elementary age kids could get so excited about history, and for us to make these connections with them.”

Estremera said the tournament is set up so younger kids can compete against college aged students to build their confidence and receive mentorship.

“Games like this give the students a sense of self-worth by challenging them,” he said. “I was really proud them of them. They have a knowledge set that not many people have, and they were beating college students. It also shows them that they can learn and have fun at the same time.”

Stephen Peryea ’21 added, “This event was a great opportunity and experience to be part of, and I enjoyed being able to compete against students around the country in this competition.”

Also participating from Siena were Evan Bowie ’21, Gabriela Quiroz ‘21, and Kevin Marshall ‘23.

LearningPlunge also offers a monthly trivia tournament for college students and faculty, which Dorsey said she may offer to Siena’s History Club.