Yellow Cluster (Grades 3-4)

Welcome to yellow.clusteratme.com (Yellow Cluster) from Denise Benjamin and Lauren Hail

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In Yellow Cluster (grades 3-4, ages 8-10), the theme is We All Create: Designing Structures Helps Us to Make Sense of Our World. The Yellow Cluster Curriculum is design-based, with the main focus being planning, designing, and building a small-scale model city set 100 years in the future and based on the area around the school.

The classroom structure reflects that of a city, with a mayor, assistant mayor and other class officers, four neighborhood teams and six commission groups. Each commission becomes expert at one aspect of city planning, i.e., Human Resources, or Building and Safety and plans what needs to be built to fulfill their responsibilities. Each neighborhood team designs and builds one fourth of the model city, with each student renting their own parcel of land and placing his/her buildings on it. Students earn a salary from their commission jobs and then pay monthly rent on their piece of land. We hold Town Hall meetings during which the students decide what they want and don’t want in their city and resolve issues and problems.

Our building experiences begin with the designing and building of object costumes. Students learn about scale, measurement, geometry, structure, and building techniques as they enlarge a small object to a child-sized costume.  They then wear their costumes in a musical revue that shares information about some of the history learned that year.  Once they have learned how to build big, they can apply what they have learned to building small - our city.

The state curriculum standards are integrated within our classroom projects to support, clarify and deepen the context for retention and future application of skills and concepts.  The science topics connect in multiple ways to the students’ city experiences.  Students also use a variety of technology applications to document, enrich, and extend their curricular experiences. 
 

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