Columbia City: A Portrait of a Neighborhood
groups of 3 students
Objective: Gather primary data on an
Understand and practice several google map
on-line archives for historical information and artifacts
Project Result: A personalized google map
highlighting features and information about the neighborhood
following curriculum is designed for student in 6-8th grade. In
TechStart, students in this grade grouping typically explore social issues and
then use tools such as Photoshop and code such as HTML to create final products
that in some way incorporate the theme. For instance, last year’s students
analyzed and interrogated media images from the standpoint of gender, race, and
class and then created their own Ad Buster-like advertisements using Photoshop.
our projects last the entire quarter—about 10 weeks, and they incorporate
team-, skill-, and self-esteem building activities. We intersperse our hour and
half long sessions with mini-lessons on how to use particular technologies. We
also gather data to help ease the kids into understanding academic inquiry. One
of our curriculum goals is to spend 60% of our bi-weekly sessions “workshopping”
the tools while producing the content of the projects.
project that we, as 6-8th grade students, will go through tomorrow
should be considered as a snapshot of a larger curricular project on
neighborhood change and gentrification. Put into a project-based learning (PBL)
centralizing question, we ask: How has Columbia City changed over time? And
what are the costs and benefits of this change? Our goal with such a question is to have students come to know
the issue in more complicated terms—hopefully complexifying the issue, and
getting away from simple dichotomies in order to form a meaningful
understanding of neighborhood change. Again, today is just a snapshot, so we
will only briefly touch on the issue.
is your goal this morning to get to know the neighborhood of Columbia City.
What better way to do that than to explore its streets, buildings, and people?
8:30 Meet your group in front of TAF at
8:30 am and pick up assignment. TAF is located at the corner of Edmunds Street.
S. and Rainier Ave. You can drop off your belongings before venturing off into
the neighborhood. Once your group has convened, walk to your assigned block and
If you were working with children and teens,
you’d collectively put together the table for data gathering. For time sake,
we’ve attached a sheet, but please feel free to add a column or two for data
that your group would like to capture about your assigned block.
google map functions
using the google tools
This exercise also assumes that students have
some prior knowledge of the terms being used. For instance, a precursor to this
activity would include a discussion of types of data, and mini-practice
sessions on gathering data. Additionally an exercise like the one above would
likely extend over several sessions in order for students to wallow in the
information and tools—investigate and play. There would also be a quick lesson
on writing a paragraph with a topic sentence and support in order for the youth
to reinforce formalized writing structures as they describe details about the
neighborhood. The lesson would likely be followed by longtime residents of the
neighborhood coming in and being interviewed by the kids.