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Would you like to visit your local site?


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Would you like to visit your local site?


Would you like to visit your local site?


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Renaissance in Your Backyard

Design the ultimate recreation facility, community center, or other new use. Help bring a rundown area of the community back to life.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Challenge students to look around their neighborhoods. Do research about how the environment, economics, and demographics have changed. If possible, ask leaders in the community to help identify an area in need of rehabilitation. Brainstorm possible appropriate uses with classmates.
    2. Students design a useful resource for the area, such as a playground, community center, or recreation area that meets the needs of diverse residents. Students,working individually or in small groups, make realistic dioramas to show the design inside a recycled tissue box. Here are a few ideas for preparing the displays.
    3. Cut the top off the box with Crayola Scissors. Measure and cut construction paper to fit inside. Extend the space with more construction paper on the bottom of the open box if needed.
    4. Students color the paper with Crayola Twistables® to create sky and grass. Students attach the background to the inside of dioramas with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry the glue.
    5. Use Crayola Model Magic® to sculpt playground equipment, railroad tracks, a picnic area, or other features of rehabilitated area. When constructing vertical pillars, for example, cover toothpicks with Model Magic. Glue them to the base of the box. Make Model Magic or paper signs, people, and other features of the proposed Community Renaissance. Glue pieces into the diorama. Air-dry the glue.
    6. Students present their recommended plans with convincing arguments about why the new usage will serve the community well. If possible, share ideas with local decision makers.
  • Standards

    LA: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Students research and describe ways they can volunteer in their neighborhood. Compile a notebook of community service projects and investigate what goes in to working on each. For example, if litter in the mall parking lot is an issue, students can organize a clean-up day for the parking lot.

    Invite a local community leader to visit with the class to discuss changes in the community over the past several years as well as needs that the community has at this time. After the meeting, students post learning to a class blog. Students also discuss if any of the items covered by the community leader are interesting for them to focus for their class project.

    Students research volunteer service organizations such as the Peace Corps. Identify and report on the services provided, such as education, agriculture, health, environment, and small business development. Students discover the steps one must take in order to become a Peace Corps volunteer.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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