|In second grade, students expand their abilities to take risks, compromise, negotiate, and work collaboratively. Second graders are expected to take more responsibility for themselves, their learning, and their various communities. In an effort to continue and expand their exploration of the world around them, second graders study the many diverse neighborhoods of New York City. |
Students develop critical thinking skills through learning about the wants and needs of people living and working in a unique urban setting. Using their developing academic skills--reading, writing, calculating, graphing, and so on, second graders head out into the City to learn about it and through it.
Second graders try to make sense of how cities work. The goal is for them to make connections, both personal and between various city systems such as transportation. They think about how geography affects the ways in which people travel into, out of, and around the city. Classes take field trips to different boroughs and neighborhoods to learn about the diverse geographical features and cultures of New York City. Students share and process their questions and findings through creative writing, painting, mixed media constructions, dramatic play, cooking, class discussions, and block building. Second graders learn about social service needs through their partnership with St. John’s Food Pantry. This project also provides hands-on opportunities to explore place value and mathematical operations through data collection and analysis of the cans that they collect from the school community.
In second grade, students take on the role of urban planners and work together to create “Block Cities” that reflect their understanding of what a city is. They must think about the aspects that are essential to a city community. They use both critical thinking and creativity to assess and show how people’s needs and wants are being met within a complex society.
For example, second graders learn about land use zones — residential, commercial, industrial, manufacturing, transportation, parks and open spaces, and institutional — as a system for sorting the various buildings and structures that a community needs.Field trips to the Museum of the City of New York and the Queens Museum of Art inspire students to design a model of their own unique city, complete with distinct neighborhood communities, a grid system, and zoned areas. Second graders also write about the citizens who live and work in their model city.