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Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Children’s Museum’

One of our mottoes here at Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a Marty Markowitz quotation:

Brooklyn is home to everyone from everywhere!

We firmly believe that here and love the opportunity to reflect the cultural diversity of our borough (and New York City, too) and the cultures of the people who have moved to Brooklyn from all around the world. Brooklyn Children’s Museum has an exhibit called World Brooklyn that shrinks Brooklyn stores to kid-size and shows the ethnic diversity of our borough through these stores.

Well, Greta had a great idea for teaching kids about culture through gardens, so she picked 14 countries from around the world: Mexico, China, Uganda, Italy, Peru, Thailand, Nigeria, Israel, Brazil, India, Japan, England, Russia, France, and Jamaica. Then, for each country, she picked a handful of representative plants and planted them together.

Above, the finished gardens are laid out in Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Greenhouse.

As you can see, each garden also has labels that tell kids something about the country. The labels talk about how the plants are used, how they smell, what they feel like, and often how the plant is used in local cooking. The Thai garden, for example, has the following label with information about the ingredients in Pad Thai:

Another great example is the Peruvian garden!

You might not do 14 of these in your classroom, but it’s quite easy to pick a country you’re studying and grow 3 or 4 plants from that country to help students combine science and social studies knowledge and have an even richer understanding of culture.

You can also link this to the arts – check back tomorrow for information about that!

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Just a reminder – next week, Brooklyn Children’s Museum is offering free professional development workshops for educators. The same My Green Community workshop is offered twice:

Thursday, October 20th, 4pm – 7pm

Saturday, October 22nd, 10am – 1pm

Join Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s educational team for a workshop on inquiry-based, hands-on experiences exploring what it means to live in a “green community” like New York City. We will give you a copy and walk you through “My Green Community,” a unit plan designed by BCM that ties in with NYC curriculum and standards for pre-K through grade 6 and explores green community features. Activities and lessons include links to literacy, math, science, social studies and the arts.

Come by to receive a print copy of our educator’s guide, free teacher resources from other New York City institutions, and lots of hands-on lesson ideas for your classroom.

We hope to see you on Thursday or Saturday!

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Speaking of wildlife in New York City, Jamaica Bay is an amazing place to study. It’s an estuary surrounding by Brooklyn, Queens, and a little bit of Nassau County. It is one of the largest tidal wetlands in the United States. Jamaica Bay is a fascinating ecosystem, full of biodiversity, which is having a variety of plant and animal species. In addition to salt marsh, grasslands, coastal woodlands, maritime shrublands and brackish and freshwater wetlands, Jamaica Bay is home to mammals, reptiles, insects, 91 different species of fish and 325 species of birds!

All of that information came from the Jamaica Bay Education Resource Directory, online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/pdf/jamaica_bay/jamaica_bay_ed_resource_directory_final.pdf. This comprehensive guide will give the curious teacher lots of thoughts of what to do next. Read the entire guide, or you can consider these suggestions.

Students learn about horseshoe crabs on a field trip to Jamaica Bay.

Field trips:

Here, you have lots of options. Two of the most interesting are guided field trips focused on exploring the natural landscape of Jamaica Bay. You can either go to Marine Park in Brooklyn, which is run by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Call 212-NEW-YORK to speak to an Urban Park Ranger and arrange a visit with your class. Or, you can attend the Gateway National Recreation Area, which is run by the National Park Service. Gateway also comprises parks in Staten Island and New Jersey. For information on field trips, check out their website: http://www.nps.gov/gate/forteachers/planafieldtrip.htm. Whether self-guided or ranger guided, teachers must attend a professional development session first, enabling them to best link Jamaica Bay to their classroom. More field trip ideas can be found in the resource directory.

Books:

Check out Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds: The Story of a Food Web by Victoria Crenson. It is set in the Delaware Bay, but the food web and ecosystem described also applies to Jamaica Bay.

For a great, rhyming introduction to salt marshes, check out A Day in the Salt Marsh by Kevin Kurtz. The book will get students ready to think about all the different life forms in a salt marsh, and there are lots of teacher ideas at the end.

There are many more excellent books listed in the resource directory above.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum:

Don’t forget that we have an indoor beach at the museum, perfect for cold, winter days. There’s a dock tank, a sand play area, an investigation of horseshoe crabs, shells to examine, and a touch tank. Most of the creatures in our touch tank come right from Jamaica Bay. We usually have local horseshoe crab, hermit crabs, mud snails, mussels, and clams as well as sea stars, brittle stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, larger snails and sea anemones from farther away.

Inside the touch tank at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. The hermit crab and mussels were collected in Jamaica Bay. Note that the mussel in the foreground has its shell open!

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Who doesn’t love free professional development?logo Brooklyn Children's Museum Join the Brooklyn Children’s Museum this fall for a training session all about green communities. You will learn the five elements of a green community, learn and practice hands-on sustainability activities, and receive a copy of the My Green Community teacher’s guide, as well as teaching resources from other sustainability focused organizations based in New York City. The workshop is designed for teachers with grades pk-6, but will have activities that can easily be adapted to all grades.

The training will be held twice:

Thursday, October 20th from 4pm to 7pm

Saturday, October 22nd from 10am to 1pm

To RSVP, email gogreen@brooklynkids.org or call 718-735-4400 x328.

We look forward to seeing you there. Keep your eyes posted on this blog for future links to free professional development at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and around New  York City.

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