Learning to Build Healthy Communities

Just before break, third graders gave presentations of their community maps depicting communities that they created that represented their ideal. Third grade teacher Kristin Hayman explains, “Our Community Unit started with the essential question, How can we make the world a better place? We started with discussions on perspective and map skills, including learning about map keys and the compass rose. Many picture books were read to the class to gain a better understanding of a variety of topics: imagined communities, clean energy, trash removal, and stories focused on diversity. [We talked about the] concepts of rural, suburban, urban, and the importance of sustainability. The students went on a field trip to Swarthmore where they experienced walking through and learning about community helper’s jobs, sustainability, and how a community can use their environment renewably. We also went on a field trip to Republic Services Conestoga Landfill to learn about how much trash people generate and what we are doing to handle the incredible amount of garbage created. [Groups of] students then created individual maps about what their ideal community would look like. They prototyped buildings and other structures, which led to the creation of 3D maps of their communities.” Art teacher Kelly Nicholson taught the students how to draw a geometric compass rose, which they illustrated and colored with watercolor pencils. Additionally, Science Teacher Amanda Jeane Strode taught a unit on electricity and circuits, which allowed the groups to “electrify” their maps using light bulbs and motors. At the presentation for their parents, each of the groups described their communities, read their “constitutions” and missions, and shared what they were most proud of on their community maps.  You can enjoy the gallery of photos here!