At Riverdale, our third grade students study the essential question, "How does the relationship between humans and the environment change over time?" We study this question with specific attention to the Hudson River Valley and the peoples who have lived there. We begin our unit of study by learning about how the Lenape people lived and interacted with the environment. We then move on to explorers and the colonial period, always revisiting the question around the impact humans have on their surroundings. We then learn about the industrial revolution, environmental law and the current state of the river.
The addition of the make space has allow the teachers to integrate almost all units of study through making. This year, our students are creating a relief map of the entire length of the Hudson River. They are building the river to scale with topography to match. The students are building and creating items to accompany each unit of study to place on the relief map. For example, they constructed long houses out of mesh wire, plaster and birch bark. They painted the map to match the deciduous forests of the north east. They are using the river model to study erosion and how pollution travels and spreads through water. This is all done by the students with assistance from a few teachers. This is only the beginning, we know we can improve with time.