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Top 10 Things to Do in Truckee with Kids Under 10

School: Sierra Expeditionary Learning School

City/State: Truckee, CA

Grade(s): 2, 3

Format(s): Field guide: Cultural/historical

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual Arts

Project Overview

During a Social Studies Expedition on the history of Truckee, California, students visited and learned from experts about the stories and history of historic buildings in downtown Truckee. Students researched the buildings and learned about the original businesses that occupied the structures and how these businesses transformed over the years and saw that modern-day businesses now occupy these sites.

Students surveyed and collected data to determine the Top 10 Things for Kids under 10, in order to distribute materials around town to share with visiting families. Once students narrowed their list to the Top 10 activities in Truckee, they wrote opinion paragraphs to share their reasons why students should visit each location.

Rack Cards were displayed at Visitor's Centers, local restaurants, and businesses around town.

We Asked The Teacher

1. What was most compelling for your students about this project?
Students were excited to complete an authentic service project that would be placed in our local Visitor's Center and businesses around town. This project gave students a sense of pride since our town is a destination location for many out of area visitors. Students felt compelled to give other children, their own age, a clear reason to visit some of our town's prized locations that kids love to visit.

2. What were the challenges?
Students were required to keep their information/opinion short and to the point. There were multiple revisions and peer critiques during the writing process in order to keep the text clear and concise. We also needed to enlist the help of a photographer and a graphic designer to help with the formatting of the card before sending it to print.

3. What makes this particular piece a model for other students?
This project is a clear example of multiple revisions and collaboration. There were many aspects that went into the final piece including brainstorming, fieldwork, voting with ballots, collecting data and graphing the results, writing process with multiple revisions and peer critiques, and collaboration with crewmates. 

4. What would be your advice to a teacher that is inspired by your project?
During the brainstorming session, it is important that you choose a few different types of locations so you don't end up with a list of restaurants or stores. This project was linked to our Expedition that focused on the historical buildings in our town as well as activities kids would be interested in doing. We highlighted wonderful shops and eateries that occupy our historic downtown buildings but also included outdoor adventure activities that families would enjoy while on vacation. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Illustrates how younger students can share their knowledge and opinions with others effectively
  • Shows a logical progression of learning being taken further to meet an authentic need in the community
  • Fosters civic pride; the project could be replicated in different locales and at virtually any grade level

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can use linking words to connect my opinion and reasons.
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