Have students look at Scenes of New York Old and New by Sacha Moldovan. Compare and contrast the different time periods that the mural portrays. What does the mural tell us about the development of the city? You may also want to find photographs that help you illustrate these ideas. Students can also look for and identify for classify building types and features. (New York Changing: Revisiting Bernice Abbott’s New York, Bernice Abbott: Changing New York, and Picturing New York are excellent sources for images.)
Plan a walking tour of your school's neighborhood or another city neighborhood where students can contrast the differences between old and new and how they are evidenced in our built environment. Give students disposable or digital cameras, as well as pencils and paper for sketching; students can use them to record architectural details and other things that they can find that are new vs. things that are old. Back in the classroom, have students do some background research and look at the pictures for similarities and differences and group their pictures into time periods. Younger students can group their photographs into two categories, old and new; while older ones can group them according to time period and perhaps notice more subtle differences. What are the characteristics that define the time that they are looking at? How have things changed? How have they stayed the same? Students will create a visual time line using their images. (You may want to provide some photocopies of images from the 17th , 18th, and early 19th century in New York.) What do they think their neighborhood will look like in 100 years? Have them create their own drawings to include on the time-line.