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Discovering the Genesee - Volume 2

School: Genesee Community Charter School

City/State: Rochester, NY

Grade(s): 4

Format(s): Field guide: Natural science

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

Project Overview

The Geology of the Genesee River Valley is the second volume of a series produced by students at the Genesee Community Charter School called, Discovering the Genesee. This volume was created by 4th graders during the 2003-2004 school year and is the culminating work of their Learning Expedition of the area’s geology.

Students spent three days traveling along the Genesee River - from the source in Pennsylvania to where the river empties into Lake Ontario - visiting geological sites, and researching the contents for this book. They worked with a large and wide array of local experts in their research. 

Students worked with a partner to create each entry for this book. Each entry contains writing and original digital photography and/or illustrations.

Although the layout was done by students, teachers and parent volunteers, the actual printing and binding in the original print run was done commercially, funded by local business donations. The final product is a glue-bound book, approximately 8 by 6 inches. Subsequent printings of the book have been produced in-house by the school, using its publication equipment. This book, and many others like it, are available for purchase on the school’s website.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • The project exemplifies the power of students engaged in extensive field work
  • Models a different type of field guide: combining natural history with human history
  • Highlights excellent student work – the writing throughout shows an incredible depth of content knowledge
  • Excellent use of digital photography – used both to accompany student writing and to show students engaged in field work (see photo on last page)
  • Combines geological information with human use over time and the reciprocal impacts of each
  • Showcases the power of professional production quality used for a student book

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can determine the meaning of content words or phrases in an informational text.
  • I can write narrative text about real or imagined experiences or events.
  • I can conduct a research project to become knowledgeable about a topic.
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