At an elementary school where the walls are covered with students’ history, science, and art projects, young museum curators are in the making.
Crossover learning has allowed kids to study science, nature, history, and art all as part of a whole experience. The third grade classroom has multiple projects on display, including student designed spaceships, replicas of bald eagles and their nests, family trees, a large blueprint of Ellis Island’s immigrant center that was made by third graders, and a 25 foot long cut out of the Statue of Liberty’s foot on the floor.
At Ortega Elementary, the principal’s office is decorated like a medieval castle.
Each student is a “docent” or “curator” whether they are in kindergarten or fifth grade. The can speak at length about projects that they or their classmates have done.
Kindergartener Ben Norton explained that bald eagles aren’t really bald. Ben knows that their name comes from an old English word, piebald, meaning “white headed”.
Third grader Yiszel Hernandez talked about her exhibit on Mexican and Indian heritage. Her small Aztec pyramid, photos of uncles playing drums, and her Day of the Dead mask are all part of her family story.