Jenna Kahwash, 11, created a series of multi-media paintings showing the lungs.
"That was the first thing I thought about, what it would feel like to have your lungs crystallize," she said. "But I didn't want to make it too sad."
Cooper Anderson, 9, was interested in the slow way the men worked, blasting and then digging through the silica with hand tools. He created a pick axe with wood and plaster gauze.
"I thought that this would be very interesting to make," he said.
Pushkin, who has been back to visit with students over the course of the project, brought copies of death certificates of men who died during the project.
Cora Dunlap was haunted by the certificates, which listed causes of death ranging from "tunnelitis" to pneumonia and silicosis.
"Some of them were just a little older than me," the 12-year-old said. "It was during the Great Depression and they were desperate for work."
Cora made a collage of the death certificates, which she edged with lace and trimmed with pieces of broken red glass.
Every student made a wood block for the unit, and Kaufman was most impressed by the images students carved into the wood, which were then used to make ink prints that will be matted and sold on Thursday.
Pushkin, a sculptor and former college instructor, hopes to complete funding and begin filming his documentary within a year. His goal is to raise $400,000, half from private sources and half from public sources.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.