Project images of New York City school buildings that are provided in the architecture section. Discuss with students how schools have changed over time, addressing style, layout, and materials used to construct the building. Why do they think these changes have taken place? What do they think each of these styles says about people’s attitudes about learning and education during a certain period of time? Students should look at their own school. Tour Your School, by the Brooklyn Historical Society is an excellent way to get students to think about their own environments.
What changes would students make to their own schools? Have students develop written reports and sketches to present to school officials. Students should describe and analyze the current conditions, and support an argument for what they feel needs to be addressed. They can present their ideas to a variety of stakeholders which include themselves, teachers and administrators, PTAs, and even city council members.