Field Coordinator Update – 7/6/15

This spring, many of our students completely immersed themselves in our local history and environment!


Our third and fourth grades spent the spring trimester studying Portland history, with a special focus on bridges. Both classes went on a walking tour of downtown and toured our bridges from the unique perspective of a jet boat.


Susan’s class learned about Portland history by making timeline books to learn about the critical period in Portland history from 1845 to 1905.  To go along with these, students kept journals from the perspective of someone living at that time to reflect on all the changes Portland was undergoing. Among other events, students “endured” the great fire of 1873 and learned about a major flood that affected Portland.


Courtney’s students chose one landmark, organization or business in Portland to study. They researched the history, location and why it’s important to our city. Students created brochures for their places which included maps and pictures, and wrote out and rehearsed final oral speeches which they did for a small group of peers standing in front of their place after they handed out brochures. The class then compiled the videos of presentations into a movie on Portland and sent the kid-made brochures to the locations. Wow!

Third/fourth graders visit OMSI, one of Portland's landmarks.

Third/fourth graders visit OMSI, one of Portland’s landmarks.

Zephaniah C checks out Oaks Park.

Zephaniah C checks out Oaks Park.

Sharon also worked with Courtney’s class to create models of the Portland bridges. Students worked individually to build their truss and do their research, and then worked in groups to present their research and make the bridge models from their trusses. The final bridge models included working vertical lift and bascule draw bridge features! At the end of the unit, the class presented their models of 11 of the 12 bridges, each accompanied by a plaque which displayed student research. Great work!

Third/fourth graders hard at work on Portland bridge models.

Third/fourth graders hard at work on Portland bridge models

Final collection of Portland bridges.

Final collection of Portland bridges.


Meanwhile, the kindergartners have been visiting Oaks Bottom almost every week this spring to study pond and wetland ecology. They also had an opportunity to play with natural building materials, create scientific drawings of plants, and make maps of the refuge. The class built a model of Oaks Bottom in their classroom, including animal figurines and essential landmarks like the “Troll Bridge.” As a result of this wetlands study, most kindergartner’s can now identify at least several native plants. Go Kinders!

Kindergarten map project.

Kindergarten Oaks Bottom map project.













It has been an amazing year for field work and place-based projects at Southwest Charter this year. Looking forward to even more next year! See you in the fall!

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