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Fifth graders Redesign their Neighborhood

Ms. McCarthy’s Fifth graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School have been working with Janine Lovejoy Wilford (a practicing architect and educator). They, along with Shirl Buss and Mr. Belmont’s fifth grade class, have been working on the question, “What Do You Imagine for San Rafael in the year 2040?

Ms. Janine created map worksheets of five zones in San Rafael, and the students worked in pairs to design for that area.  Three of the zones are right on the canal and the other two are on the shoreline. The students sketched out ideas for their areas, and added more and more details as they persevered. In 2040, these future residents of San Rafael would like to see safer, prettier walking routes, more affordable housing, more playgrounds, and a lot more gardens.
The final presentations were great and  students had many ideas including a waterpark in the canal that would recirculate and clean water. Students were asked why their design will be better for SR. Some of our favorite responses: “because it’s better than what’s there.”  And “because in the future people will use alot of electronics and they will need to go outside more.”
This week students will build 3D versions of these ideas.
Thank you so much to the wonderful supporters of this project: UC Berkeley’s Y-Plan, the California Arts Council, and the teachers, staff and parents of Laurel Dell Elementary School.
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