Fieldwork Coordinator Update – June 2019


Fieldwork Coordinator Update

Date of Activity / Lesson:

June 2019


Portland State University, Portland Art Museum, Portland City Hall, Salem, CSCS


As the school year came to a close, students stayed busy with their place-based community projects. Here are just a few highlights from the past two weeks.


3rd Grade: Chinookan People and Archaeology Roadshow

This past weekend our 3rd graders ran an exhibit at the Portland State University Archaeology Roadshow. The theme this year was “Daily Life,” which student applied to their studies of the Chinookan Peoples. To prepare for the exhibit, students met with several experts. An archaeologist came to the classroom to talk about what an archaeologist does and answer questions. The class traveled to the Portland Art Museum to learn about Chinookan art from contemporary artists and even learned how to make paint from clay. Students traveled to two different ecosystems– Tryon Creek Natural Area and Camassia Natural Area– to learn about the importance of native plants and seasonal rounds. Students also visited the Oregon Jewish Museum for a “behind-the-scenes” tour of how to make a good exhibit. Finally, students were able to create and present. This is the fourth year our 3rd graders have participated in the Archaeology Roadshow, and as far as we know, we have the only exhibit that is run by students younger than college level. So proud of them!


As a companion project, the 3rd graders have also been researching the possibility of our school adopting a land acknowledgement statement. Students worked in groups to write several different drafts and presented them at a staff meeting.


6th Grade


This spring, students explored the scientific method, properties of matter and phase change, periodic table, chemical reactions, and looked at how these concepts can be explored through food. Last week, the class presented a science fair for the school community to teach others and explore science concepts. To prepare for the exhibition, students created a testable question and hypothesis, wrote a detailed procedure, performed the experiment (multiple times for some) and collected data in order to confirm their hypothesis or not. Topics ranged from Dry Ice Ice Cream to the Effect of Yeast in Bread, to Phase Change through Jello. According to Teacher Lisa: “The students really rocked out on the science fair. It was so great to see how many parents came and students were really proud of their work.” Thank you for teaching us, 6th grade!


7th/8th Grades: Project Citizen


Once again, our 7th and 8th grade students undertook Project Citizen as their final work for the school year. Through Project Citizen, students identify and research local problems, propose a policy-based solution, and put in place an action plan. This year, our eighth graders focused on the sanitation needs of Portland’s homeless community, and our seventh graders learned more about challenges facing small businesses. Students spent the spring reading, interviewing, surveying, and meeting with expert guest speakers to refine their projects. A highlight for the eighth grade class was being invited to testify at the commissioners at City Hall so students could ask the city to include several mobile sanitation units in next year’s city budget. Dylan spoke for her class and elicited a round of applause and commendations from Commissioner Hardesty.


Both classes presented their final projects to a panel of judges in Salem last week, where they were able to view projects from other schools around the state. Thank you to the Classroom Law Project for supporting a program that provides so many avenues for civic education and engagement!


Place-based Symposium


Lastly, we held our first place-based symposium on Thursday, May 30th. All classrooms hosted parents, community members, and partners for mini-presentations on place-based projects completed this school year. Student presenters shared slideshows and 3-D models, performed plays, and led participants in activities. The evening was a great success, culminating in a lively round-table discussion for interested guest educators. We’re looking forward to next year’s symposium!


It has yet again been a busy year for fieldwork and place-based studies!.Thank you so much to all of the parents, community partners, and teachers who make it possible for us to live our mission. See you in the fall!


Sarah K. Anderson, Fieldwork Coordinator, The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science

Stay tuned for more updates of Place-Based Education (PBE) adventures at The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science.

Image Gallery:
(if blank, then see above)

Make a Donation to Help Further Place-Based Education!