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Creating a Sustainable City (#SDG 11): A Collaboration Between NM Gifted Elementary Students and PA 10th Graders

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During Spring, 2022, a student in my gifted education program suggested that they build a paper city. I loved the idea, suggested that they make a sustainable city, and gave them some additional resources to do so. It ended up being amazing (for more about this see Building a Sustainable City and Class Example of a Sustainable City).

Along with teaching these gifted elementary students (who I teach for multiple years), I teach graduate courses for Walden University. One of the courses is Innovative Curriculum. During the course, these graduate students are asked to develop a global networked curriculum where two groups from very diverse geographical locations, preferably a country different than one’s own, work to solve an authentic problem. Raelee Sweigart a former math teacher and now math coach at Reach Cyper Charter School, developed a curriculum about the two groups of high school students using geometry to create model sustainable housing. Of course, I went a little crazy as my elementary students just finished their sustainable city model. I suggested we use her curriculum to do a collaboration whereby her high school students from throughout Pennsylvania work with my gifted upper elementary students in Santa Fe, New Mexico (two very different geographical and cultural locations). My students wanted to rebuild and refine their city this year, and what a fantastic way for both groups to learn applied geometry. I am so excited. Below is the highlights of our collaboration. Thank you, Raelee!

Overview of the Project (developed by Raelee)

During one of the Innovative Curriculum modules, students are asked to develop a digital handout of the project to share with students. Here is the one created by Raelee and modified for our collaboration:

Padlet Introductions

As Raelee suggested in her model project, the students introduced themselves using a Padlet. She included columns for video introductions as wells as ones for students to post images of their geographical locations. I later suggested that she add columns for students to post images of example sustainable building from their geographical locations.

Made with Padlet

Screencast of Our First Meeting

This is a snippet of our first Google Meet together, when the students from the two schools met each other and Raelee reviewed the project.

Tinkercad Tips

Our second session focused on Tinkercad tips as that is the tool the students are using to create their sustainable city structures. Here is an edited clips of this meeting:

Sustainability Presentation

Support Handouts

The support documents for this project were found at I love Projects. Geometrocity, the City Made of Math

10th Grade PA Students Teaching NM Elementary Students

The Pennsylvania students spent several of our meetings teaching the New Mexico students some geometry concepts related to 3D rendering and building construction.

Raelee created a Classkick, a formative assessment tool, for students to review geometry concepts –

Working Collaboratively in Tinkercad to Design Sustainable Buildings

The group worked in Tinkercad, an online 3D modeling program that permits collaboration, to create their buildings. The New Mexican students worked with a scale of .25″/1′ in order for the buildings to work with their sustainable city model.

Making the Sustainable Buildings

Students in New Mexico will use a laser cutter to create the major parts of their sustainable buildings. In Pennsylvania, the buildings will be 3D printed for the students.

Final Slide Presentations

During our final session, student groups gave slide presentations. Below is their slide decks and oral presentations.

Upper Elementary NM SAGE Students’ Final Sustainable City

The New Mexico students using the buildings created through this project to build a sustainable city. The city was displayed in our school foyer. They explained it to several classes.

They used Canva to make poster to go along with their display:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

February 12, 2023 at 4:21 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I am very excited to be working on this project with you! Can’t wait to see what the students come up with!


    February 14, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    • Me, too! Will continue to document their learning – very fun.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      February 14, 2023 at 4:13 pm

  2. I had so much fun working on this!!

    Jude Assih

    May 9, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    • . . . and we loved having you as part of the group, Jude! You are a fantastic young man and will go far in your life.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      May 9, 2023 at 10:42 pm

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