In 2013 the Third Grade will take breaks from their work in the garden to dive into other projects related to their practical activities. Right now they are in their shelter block. In years past, teachers have asked their third graders to build a small, sample shelter they could then bring to class and display. My son built a sod house using the arc of a deflated basketball as its shell, then layering the basketball with moist soil and grass seeds. It was green and fluffy when finished, and did look like a (small) grassland sod home.
Ms. Guzder, however, decided to have her class build life-size shelters in partnership with the Presidio. The children spent three mornings sawing, building, strapping, and digging and made three amazing shelters. The children had plenty of time to enjoy them, and many brought their families back to dine in the dwellings over the course of the week.
We were very grateful to the Presidio for letting the class collect fallen branches and choose from large piles of green debris the Park crew dropped off. The children learned what it takes to build a viable shelter, and, developed great skill and confidence through the endeavor.