Back to Projects

Bugs Tell a Story: Healthy Habitats Along the Genesee River

School: Genesee Community Charter School

City/State: Rochester, NY

Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Format(s): Digital

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview


In effort to raise awareness of the state of a local river, GCCS K-5 classes developed a schoolwide expedition focusing on the health of the Genesee River in the spring of 2017. The One Cubic Foot Project through the Seneca Park Zoo served as as an entry point to examine what lives in and around the river as well as the water and soil quality. “Vertical teams” consisting of 5-6 students from kindergarten though 5th grade were formed and students collected data from six locations along the river. Each vertical team visited their assigned location three times to collect data.

In the classroom, each grade focused on a different river related topic to answer these  questions:

  • Where and how do plants and animals live along the river?
  • How do people keep the environments safe for every living thing.
  1. Kindergarten: Decomposers
  2. 1st Grade: Arachnids
  3. 2nd Grade: Exopterygota
  4. 3rd Grade: Endopterygota
  5. 4th Grade: Water Quality
  6. 5th Grade: Soil Quality

Kindergarten through third grade students wrote narrative nonfiction pieces using information researched in the classroom and in the field.  Fourth and fifth grade students wrote literary descriptions of each location and informational text about water and soil quality. In visual art class students created insect drawings and paintings depicting life along the river. Writing pieces and artwork were compiled onto a digital platform called Thinglink.  In addition, vertical teams represented their learning through dance by participating in Global Water Dance 2017. Each team danced on location along the river. The video of the dance can be found on the Global Water Dance website.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Introduces a digital platform that could be used for a range of projects
  • Highlights a comprehensive schoolwide expedition
  • Shows a multi-disciplinary project over a wide age range
Back to Projects