A trip conceived, planned, and executed by John and Sophia. John wanted the kids to learn everything that goes into running a restaurant, including the work of front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house staff. What a great idea!
Time for lunch! But first, they have to learn how to work like Dean Street staff…
Here comes the food!
A toast to John, Sophia, and the wonderful staff of Dean Street. Thank you for this wonderful learning experience!
Earlier this year, we visited the Gowanus Canal with Barbara and thought about how it has changed over the last 400 years. The kids were sad about how dirty, polluted, and downtrodden our local waterway is. After a year of learning about water and environmental issues, they were ready to work on a small part of the solution!
Their year-end science projects are “floating islands” to help the Gowanus. At this year’s Ecorama celebration, our class presented their “floating island” prototypes.
These projects were inspired by a visit to look at Balmori Architect’s GrowOnUs island in the Gowanus (pictured above, and originally assumed by the kids to be a “trash island”).
Thank you Emmy for the Ecorama pictures; thank you Barbara for teaching us science!
Better late than never! Early spring trip to the Ridgewood Reservoir. Built in the 1800s, Ridgewood Reservoir still played an important part in keeping Brooklyn residents hydrated as recently as 1959. Originally, water that was stored in the reservoir traveled by aqueduct to steam-powered pumping stations!
Here are teams of engineers trying to design a successful aqueduct using straws and tape.
Lola’s face = the thrill of success!
Once they got their little aqueducts to work, the kids banded together to build a GIGANTIC aqueduct on the stairs.
Part of the children’s work in social studies this year is to project their imaginations across time and space. This includes being able to interpret and extrapolate from 2-dimensional maps, and integrating what we see on a flat map with our experiences in the real world. Today was an exercise in map-reading and imagination! We traveled to lower Manhattan for an Alex-guided walking tour. We wanted the children to walk the perimeter of New Amsterdam so they would have a sense of how teeny the original city was. We also wanted the kids to discover that there are still some clues telling the story of New Amsterdam, if you know where to look.
We started our walking tour at the former site of Fort Amsterdam. This was the administrative quarters for the Dutch in New Netherland. For Amsterdam looks an awful lot like other Dutch forts from the 1600’s, because they all followed a similar design. Even the Dutch slave-warehousing castles in West Africa resembled Fort Amsterdam in structure.
Once New York became a city, a Customs House was built on this site (and now houses the National Museum of the American Indian).
Today’s Pearl Street was New Amsterdam’s Paerl Straet, and during that time it overlooked the water. We walked up Pearl Street, noticing how much landfill has been used to allow the construction of whole city blocks where water once was.
We passed the juncture of Coenties Slip and Pearl Street. Coenties Slip was where the boats “slipped in” to deliver their wares to New Amsterdam. Now it’s a road with a view of the harbor. We couldn’t believe this was once the spot where water met land!
Next we walked up Stone Street. The kids know this one by heart because it was the only “paved” street in New Amsterdam!
In class we recently looked at images of all the different kinds of gables that are found in “Old” Amsterdam. We went up a side street and spotted a step gable like the ones we have been studying! This was the most popular gable style during the 1600′s.
It was hard to imagine that 300-something years ago, these would have been the tallest buildings in New Amsterdam.
In no time at all, we realized that we had traversed the Western side of New Amsterdam and reached “the wall.” This wall was originally built to keep out the English, whom the Dutch (rightly) believed would try to take over the territory. It’s easy to find, because it would have been directly below present-day Wall Street!
From one corner of the wall, where the Water Gate would have been, we found we could see all the way to the Land Gate on the other “side” of New Amsterdam, on the spot now occupied by Trinity Church.
Back in Battery Park for lunch, we found some monuments to old New Amsterdam. And last but not least, we visited the three-dimensional bronze Costello Plan in front of the Whitehall station.
Thank you to all the parents who gamely joined us for this time-travel adventure!
Last week Barbara and Johanna took us on a trip to the gutters, drains, and tree pits around 610 Henry. Our mission? To see how well equipped the neighborhood is to handle “excess” rainwater. We learned that when it rains more than 2 inches in New York City, water treatment centers get overloaded and stop being able to process dirty water. That means it gets dumped directly into our waterways! We can help by making sure our neighborhood has lots of ways to slow down or absorb rainwater as it falls.
After visiting several storm drains, tree pits, and the shed, it was on to the Eco Casita to explore other ecological features that help our waterways.
After conducting their survey, the kids had some time to design inventions that would address the problem of rainwater runoff.