Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bay Week Revisited

During Bay Week (our Eagle Cove "Earth Day" week-of-study-and celebration), on top of all our activities/speakers/song writing/and more, part of our 3rd grade tradition is a study of bridges. We investigate the 3 main types (beam, arch, and suspension), and famous bridges--including both the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel crossing the Bay further south to our neighboring state, Virginia. We read about bridges, see pictures, check it out online, and then students apply what they've learned by creating their own bridges. The supplies are limited so "invention" becomes the word du jour: a corrugated cardboard 2-foot span, drinking straws, and pins. Next week we'll put weights on the creations and see how they hold up--literally!! 

Along with all of this, another traditional part of this study is a trip with our art teacher to Sandy Point State Park. Outside of Annapolis, Maryland, the park is the perfect setting for an amazing view of both the Bay and the Chesapeake Bay suspension bridge. In the art classes prior to this trip, the students learn different water color pencil techniques: spatter, knife (where they scrape the color onto wet paper), both wet paper & dry paper application, painting over salt or sand, and using tape/whiting liquid. The mission: to paint the bridge (on paper, of course), using at least 4 techniques.

 It's the most serene field trip ever--especially if, like this year, the weather cooperates & is beautiful! The kids share their newly-acquired social studies/bridge terminology with the art teacher, then capture these bridge elements using their newly-acquired techniques. Again, it confirmed to me the philosophy of "No Child Left Indoors." They were completely enmeshed & in tune with what they were doing on their super-sized painting clipboards. This went for everyone--whether they loved art or not; whether they had decided to sit at the picnic table, or lay in the sand near the water's edge. Seagulls and sparrows visited each group of painters, the wind was refreshing, and the water lapped the shore giving a great background music.
Bringing Bay Week full circle after the masterpieces were completed, we talked about being here at the Bay's edge. We noticed that there was one additional sight that we saw as we looked about on our setting--unfortunately, a soggy, wet plastic bag sat at the edge in the wet sand. We were reminded of all the good and beautiful things we talked about last week that live in the Bay...and how dangerous that bag would be to the wildlife that relied on this water. It didn't take long for these 9-year-olds to decide we could do something about it. A little beach clean up was what we needed. It was a little thing, on our small stretch of the vast beach we visited, but it was a grocery bag full of plastic that now won't wind up swirling in a Great Garbage Patch out at sea. Yes, it was a little thing, but it felt good!

Pictures from my camera

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