Fourth Grade STEAM Studies the New York City Subway System
STEAM class ties learning to our own New York City Subway system!
Fourth graders are engaged in a trimester-long project on the New York City Subway with the A-S STEAM Team: Lisa Anderson, Alex Expósito, Peter Fletcher, and Robert McCallum.
Boys kicked off the project by creating a custom Google Map highlighting their own special New York City landmarks, ranging from their apartment to their favorite places around the five boroughs. Boys experimented with designing travel routes between their apartment and other neighborhoods. This important step oriented boys to New York City’s geography and set the foundation for how this project is relevant in their own day-to-day lives.
Next, boys explored public art and learned how art has not only been enjoyed in spaces such as parks and city buildings, but also by passengers in the subways. Special guest and artist Jean Shin visited the boys to speak about her large-scale mosaics included in the new Second Avenue Subway line. Ms. Shin spoke with the boys about the inspiration behind her artwork, her artistic process, and the importance of perseverance through difficult, daunting tasks. Boys used their learning during this portion of the project to guide them in designing a public art piece that relates to a current event or provides a message and meaning to the viewer.
Boys investigated electrical systems, the engineering of tunnels, subway cars, and the overall impact public transportation has on a city, as well as the understanding of its impact on their environment. To aid them in their research, representatives from the New York Transit Museum presented a virtual field trip on electricity and the circuitry of the New York City Subway system.
In conjunction with learning how the system operates, boys researched the many problems that New York City Subway riders face every day. Problems such as cleanliness, service disruptions, social distancing, and a crumbling infrastructure added to the authentic problem solving that is so important in fourth-grade STEAM Class!
As part of the engineering design process (EDP), the boys had to create a new design for a subway car, as well as a blueprint for a subway station. They did this using the CAD and Tinkercad computer software.
Their learning culminated in a fun, hands-on engineering project where boys used carboard boxes and everyday art supplies to design a prototype of a subway station that reimagines a train station to solve these problems faced by commuters.