Our Next Expedition—The First Grade Entrepreneurs!

Next week first graders will embark on their second expedition! This expedition promises many meaningful moments for the students because they will be learning and gathering information to create a final product that will potentially help our city! Their product will be extremely authentic and serve a purpose beyond the classroom for Detroit businesses!

During phase one of our expedition, students will explore and examine soil through exploration, experiments, and as a special treat, from soil expert, Pashon Murry, of Detroit Dirt! Students will discover the answers to key questions such as: what are the components of soil; what are the properties of soil; and why is soil so important?

 Next, students will learn about plants and their life cycle. Since students will already be soil experts, they will have an opportunity to grow a vegetable in the classroom and photograph their plant each day as it grows. Students will learn the ins and outs of plants from their first-hand observation and our good friend and local expert, Reit Shumack, while they learn how to photograph a still life from another local expert and friend of DAA, Ali Lapetina! Once the plant is full grown, we will use our photos to create a picture flipbook.

Finally, during phase three of our progressive expedition—the big kahuna! Students will have the chance to interview farmers and growers from local farms and gardens throughout Detroit. Students will learn about these farms and gardens and the important people who make them run. They will also learn about the special crops they produce. Students will do fieldwork at some of the farms, Skype with some of the farmers, and use the Internet to further research. Once the students have gathered all the information about each local farm or garden, our first graders will create a guidebook to Detroit's farms and gardens! Their guide will be presented as part of “our business plan” to local restaurant owners and chefs, along with a student-written persuasive letter convincing these business owners to use crops from the local farms and gardens!

I am so excited to launch this expedition and help students combine science, art, and writing activities, while they learn about and create a real tangible product that connects them to their city in such a meaningful way!