Second Grade Trip to Museum of the City of New York

St. B’s second graders had the chance to be urban planners on recent trips to the Museum of the City of New York.  Their final destination was the Future City Lab at the museum, where they were met by an educational guide.
Led by their guide, the boys discussed the things they like about New York City, such as its size (of eight million people), Central Park, and how easy it is to get around.  Then they talked about the things they don’t like about New York, including noise, pollution, litter, slow subway trips, and too many cars.  The boys were then invited to solve three common urban problems:  housing a growing city, living with nature, and getting around.  The boys broke into three groups and were presented with three possible solutions to their problem.  As they talked, they realized that there were pros and cons to every solution.  For example, one might be great for the environment but it would also be more costly to implement.

Based on what they learned from their group discussions, the boys had the chance to build their own virtual cities.  As they swiped and dragged on touchscreens, they tried to balance housing, environmental, and cost benefits and keep them all “in the green” on bars near the top of their screens.  When they were satisfied with their cities, they saved them and enjoyed watching them come to life on a big screen.  They noticed that when they watched the screen from specific locations they appeared in their virtual cities!

As they finished up their visit, the guide explained that there are still many things that need to be solved for cities to grow in sustainable ways.  He believes that if everyone works together as a community, we will be able to find the necessary solutions.

The boys had a wonderful time learning about urban planning and building their own virtual cities.  Many of them were planning their next visits to the Museum of the City of New York on their walk back to school.