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civspotMackintosh-Littleton teacher Lara Pausbeck knew her first and second graders were fully engaged in their civilizations Unit of Inquiry when they opted to extend their learning on their own, outside of class time.

 Lara had introduced the unit by reading with her students the book Weslandia by Paul Fleischman. After finishing the book and brainstorming as a group the components of a civilization, she asked the students to sketch a map of how they might create a civilization of their own. After completing their maps, the students were still so engaged in the topic, they extended their learning in several different ways:


  • Several children worked together to create a civilization on the playground. They constructed a physical structure with pine needles; they wrote down rules, brought food and flowers from home, and even brought in blankets to make various aspects of the civilization. They even created a language based on sounds and symbols.
  • One student dreamed about her civilization and then proceeded to draw a picture that included all of the aspects of her dream. She then built her own civilization in her back yard, photographed it, and brought the pictures in to share with the class.
  •  Another group of students collaborated to create a model of their civilization out of Legos over the weekend.
  • A student brought in a model of her civilization made out of duct tape and presented it to the class.

Mackintosh students are so accustomed to open-ended learning in the classroom, they take it home with them, they take it onto the playground, and they even take it into their dreams.

Mackintosh Academy Littleton