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Out And About In Chi-Town

Yesterday, the K-2 group ventured out downtown to learn more about Chicago’s rich architecture and food.  We have been studying the history of Chicago all year and this was the perfect way to cap it off!  

We took the CTA bus down to the new Chicago Architectural Center.  We were met with a docent to help teach us about the building blocks of architecture.  Each student received a pencil and clipboard and eagerly got started. We began with noticing both the 2D and 3D shapes that we saw on the buildings.  We went on a shape hunt and recorded our findings.  Some students debated if the pointy top of the Wrigley building was considered a triangle or not and about the shapes that we saw on the bridges.  

Next, we discovered the different materials that architects use and why they may have chosen them.  The new Apple building on the river was a perfect structure to examine.  The building was mostly made of glass, but the roof was made of wood and the floor of concrete.  Students touched the materials and guessed why they made have been used.  

Our third task was to notice the ornamentation that some buildings had.  This reminded students of what is used to decorate a Christmas tree and they were very excited!  Students observed the Tribune Tower and learned how rocks and bricks from a variety of historically important sites throughout the world were brought back to Chicago to use.  They also noticed the animal figures and other symbols on the building.  Students rubbed different rubber stamps with crayons to practice making ornamentations.  Lastly, the aspiring architects drew their own buildings using some of the techniques they had learned.  Students then presented their buildings to each other.  

After our tour, we walked back to the Chicago Architectural Center and saw a film and light show that illuminated the Chicago city model.  It told the amazing story of Chicago’s early growth, its rebirth after the Great Chicago Fire and its ever-changing skyline.

By this time, we were hungry, so we took out a deep-dish pizza and ate it in in the Cultural Center.  We finished the day with running around in Wrigley square, visiting the bean and enjoying Garrett’s popcorn on the bus ride home.  Definitely a day to remember!

Meghan Brtnik

is a classroom teacher on the K-2 team. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Meghan was a substitute teacher at an international baccalaureate school in Toronto and at the Latin School of Chicago. She graduated from York University, Toronto, with a M.Ed. at the primary/junior level and completed an additional qualification course in special education. Meghan earned a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in honors psychology, focusing on the psychological and social foundations in human behavior. In addition, Meghan has worked in a Montessori school, tutored students individually, and lived and worked at an all-girls boarding school.
For fun, Meghan loves traveling, trying out new restaurants, exploring new neighborhoods, swimming, reading, and walking.