While we create our resources with your classroom’s success in mind, no one knows your learners like you do. That’s why we make sure our products are adaptable to suit your needs!
For educator Kristen Nordstrom, a second grade teacher and founding member of Ladera STARS Academy, a Title I STEAM Magnet School, our unit To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges was just what she needed to supplement her students’ learning about civil engineering and physical sciences.
“My goal was to teach my students about bridges and give them hands-on experience with bridge building,” Nordstrom told us.
Nordstrom taught the entire unit as designed, but used it to supplement a month-long project in the classroom, including interviews with architects and learning about the local ecosystem.
“Prior to the bridge unit, we investigated the development of a land bridge in our local area,” Nordstom said. “We spent a month defining the problem - learning about our local ecosystem and the strain that the loss of habitat has had on our mountain lion population.”
Her students also interviewed experts associated with the local land bridge project and, after their discussions with a landscape architect, began building their bridges.
“Ultimately, we combined our knowledge of the ecosystem, bridge building, and specific design features to create wildlife crossings,” Nordstrom said.
As for her students? “They loved the entire unit,” she said. “I felt they were deeply engaged during the learning process and demonstrated a connection to the problem they were solving in our community.“
“My students also made a movie about the experience,” Nordstrom said. “The National Wildlife Association was so impressed with our movie, they commissioned an artist to create a mural with a life-size mountain lion.“
The students at Ladera STARS Academy aren’t the only ones to benefit from creative educators like Kristen Nordstrom — we often hear from teachers and administrators in our Ambassador program about how they have used parts of our units to supplement their curricula or built on our resources to adapt for their learners. Learn more here!