19 Dec December, 2017 Fieldwork Update
The end of the trimester is always an exciting time when students celebrate their projects, present to community partners, and work to advocate for a cause that has become important to them. Here are just a few highlights from this last week before winter break:
On Tuesday, seventh and eighth graders traveled to Portland State University to present their Portland Mapping Projects to geography professors Hunter Shobe and David Banis. Professors Shobe and Banis are co-authors of Portlandness: A Cultural Atlas, the book that students used as a mentor text when designing their own maps. After enjoying a mini-presentation from the authors, ten students spoke about the cultural maps they created about Portland. Each student’s map focused on a different city feature, such as libraries, dog shelters, or independent tea shops. Students then created illustrative elements that corresponded with the theme. For example, one of the library maps also described the different neighborhoods of Portland by literary genre (Forest Park: Biology, Pearl District: Art, the Industrial District: Dystopian). Students and the authors then had time to ask questions of each other. We learned that many of the challenges students faced when making their maps are the same challenges encountered by real cartographers. Afterwards, everyone celebrated with hot cider and cookies. At the end, Nancee Hunter, director for the Center for Geography Education at PSU, encouraged the group, “Perhaps we’ll see you back here in a few years when you’re ready to become geographers!”
This has been a busy week for the seventh and eighth graders as they also prepared to present their initial data on Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. The students have worked in expert groups all fall to collect soil, water, and wildlife data from five different locations around the reservoir. They presented their findings to PPR ecologist Laura Guderyahn Thursday morning and fielded her questions and feedback. This is the first stage of a three-year-long project to collect data and help PPR fully understand the impact of their upcoming construction project at Oaks Bottom.
And for one last snapshot from our week, a native fish visited our fourth and fifth grade classroom on Tuesday. As a culmination to a mini-unit on lamprey, Maureen Hosty, the program coordinator for Multnomah County 4-H, brought live fish in to school for students to handle. The ancient species, once found abundantly in the Columbia River, are on loan to 4-H and will be released in the Gorge this spring. As part for their unit, students created posters promoting actions we can take to help protect lamprey; they will be on display in the Great Room.
Cottonwood kids will be out and about again in January, starting new projects. Until then, enjoy the break and see you in the new year!