Understanding the Past to Predict the Future
In Lower Elementary “culture lessons” include biology, geography, history, physical science, and so much more. Each year, students learn about these subjects through the lens of understanding two continents’ development over time. They come to grasp how the subjects intertwine—how mountains or aquatic life, for example, may impact a place’s culture or its history. Right now, LE is delving into Europe. Third graders Ana C. and Leon A. write about an early assignment involving geography and geology.
To begin our study of Europe, we learned how the actual land formed, with plates coming together and breaking apart. We did these puzzles that helped us learn about Pangea, the super continent that broke into various pieces. Now that we understood basic plate tectonics, it was up to us to make a prediction about how earth will continue to change. A few people went to the Art Room to create maps, and a few people stayed in the classroom.
Thinking about what we learned about how land masses change, we colored in world maps to predict what was happening to the continents in the future. If a country was colored orange with a question mark, we weren’t sure what would happen. If a country was green, we thought it would still be there. If it was red, we thought it would disappear: the plates would squash against each other, or go under one another. The blue countries, we believe, will go underwater. For this, we chose islands and pieces of land connected to water, for example Chile in South America and Greenland.
It is going to take millions and millions and millions of years for these changes to happen because the continents and plates move really really slowly. We don’t think there is anything we can do to stop this from happening. We think it’s not good or bad, just sad because there are so many South American mammals that can’t survive underwater. So many of the animals there are weird and cool. Since they don’t know this is happening, they are not going to move to safety.
We like thinking about what happened in the past to learn about the future!