In Grade 2, we are well underway with our Project Work study of New York City. Project Work at Williamsburg Northside is based on grade-level social studies standards and uses the concept of Community to connect these studies from Prekindergarten all the way through 5th Grade. Over the course of this project, we will begin by learning about our city today, dip back into history with an inquiry into the Lenape, New York City’s first inhabitants, and conclude by studying European immigration of the late 1800s and early 1900s. To begin, we traced and cut out a map of the boroughs, posting it on our classroom wall. We learned about map keys and completed an activity of using different colors to identify the five boroughs. Sparked by the children’s interest in the upcoming L train closing, we began our study of the city through a focus on transportation and, specifically, bridges.
Each child created a different bridge out of various art materials and these will soon be posted to our city map. Students used basic research skills to learn and share interesting facts about their bridge. We will also learn about the different types of bridges: swing, suspension, lift and cantilever. We are currently studying suspension bridges and developing an understanding of the engineering principles behind the construction of these bridges.
During Integrated Science, we will continue to expand our knowledge about bridges by engaging in a more in-depth study of how bridges are constructed. Our guiding question will be: what is necessary to build a strong bridge and what are the challenges in doing so? Currently we are looking at shape: Which shapes are the strongest? How can shapes be combined to increase the amount of weight a structure can bear? We will make our own I-beams and use them to construct a model of the Brooklyn Bridge in Integrated Art. As we work on this project, we will learn a bit about the history of the Brooklyn Bridge, why it was needed and how it was built, further connecting our studies across disciplines.
We incorporated Math through our mini-unit on data collection. The children voted on which strategy for closing the L train was best and used this data to construct a graph.
We counted how many people voted for which option, used addition to determine the total number of votes, and compared the number of votes for each option. Most importantly, we learned how this information can be communicated by creating a graph and how that graph is interpreted.
Reading and writing about bridges provided not only another opportunity for data collection, but the chance to practice critical Literacy skills. Fluency, comprehension and summarizing came into play during the children’s research on their assigned bridges and study of the parts of a suspension bridge. Polishing our decoding and spelling skills, as well as handwriting and grammar, will continue as we move on to focusing our research on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Keep an eye out for additions to our wall map and updates on our Integrated Project Work!
Caroline Biggers, MA
Grade 2 CoTeacher