Urban Adventure Squad brings community-based, hands-on learning to families and schools in the D.C. area through full-day programs when schools are closed, and through partnerships with schools and community organizations.
2018-19 School Partnerships
During the 2018-19 school year, we partnered with three public charter schools--DC Bilingual Public Charter School (DCB), Creative Minds International Public Charter School (CMI), and Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School-Brookland campus (Stokes School).
DC Bilingual Enrichment with The Hive
Urban Adventure Squad created and facilitated half day programs for 1st-5th grade students in The Hive. These unique programs featured community walks and hands-on learning that aligned with each grade level's curriculum. When students were learning about weather and climate in their earth sciences unit, students in The Hive built anemometers to measure wind speed and tested them during a community walk where they recorded real-time weather data. Students built terrariums while learning about reversible and irreversible changes in the water cycle, saw sound with an oobleck experiment during a unit on vibration and the science of sound, and built bridges and explored urban design during a problem-solving unit. Students in The Hive also organized neighborhood trash cleanups while learning about our local watersheds and participated in The 50 States Project, which is part of a GPS-based scavenger hunt called Geocaching that allows students to practice map skills, puzzle solving, and teamwork.
Creative Minds Garden Education
In fall 2018, Urban Adventure Squad continued garden education programs at Creative Minds International Public Charter School. Students got their hands dirty as they worked alongside UAS program educators, who planned and led garden education programs that were integrated with the school's curriculum. These programs included interactive and imaginative lessons focused on cooking, building, designing, problem-solving, engineering, communicating, and more.
Middle school science students learned about digestive enzymes by harvesting oregano and observing an experiment with apples, explored salt as a preservative while making quick pickles, and learned how farming on the International Space Station compares to our community garden. Students visited throughout their recess periods to help plant, harvest, weed, and winterize the garden with crop covers and mulch. Recess students harvested radishes and made salad dressing, learned about the American Indian method of planting the three sisters--rice, beans, corn--together, and picked lavender for lemonade and scones. Through our work, we engaged over 400 students in grades PK3 through 8th grades.
Stokes School was the partner school on Urban Adventure Squad's DC's Hidden Waterways curriculum, funded by the DC Department of Energy and Environment's 2018 Stormwater Solutions grant. You can read all about that project on our DC's Hidden Waterways webpage.
2017-18 School Partnerships
During the 2017-18 school year, we partnered with two public charter schools--District of Columbia International School (DCI) and Creative Minds International (CMI) to offer enrichment programs.
At DCI, we created programs in three- and four-week units that brought students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades out across the city, meeting guest educators, hiking through trails in Rock Creek, going behind the scenes at local theaters, finding and creating public art, learning around the recycling process, and much, much more:
Electronic Trash Art. During this unit, students learned about current methods of electronics disposal and the effects on the environment. Students learned from a representative of the scrap recycling industry, visited the American Art Museum for a tour and gallery talk that focused on found objects and electronic art, hiked in Rock Creek Park, and created their own electronic trash art projects.
DCI Pop Up. Students prepped for all aspects of an entirely Squad-run pop-up restaurant under the guidance of food industry expert Peter Fox, who has over a decade of experience at Wagshal’s, a Washington, D.C.-based food business. We visited TaKorean for a behind-the-scenes tour of a creative fast casual concept and Timber Pizza Co. to explore a sit-down restaurant that changes its menu with the seasons. Andrew Dana, owner of Timber Pizza Co., offered students lots of memorable advice, including his thoughts on naming a restaurant. He said that a restaurant name should be: 1) easy to spell, 2) not already on Google, and 3) cool. And so “Good Vibes and Empanadas” was born!
D.C. Performing Arts: History and Culture. This unit included team-building activities, a workshop with the Howard University Step Team, a tour of Wooly Mammoth Theater, and a stage combat workshop with Roundhouse Theater.
DCInstallation. DCI students focused on the role of public art by exploring various installations in downtown Silver Spring and by geocaching in their school’s neighborhood. The DCI Squad decided to convert a broken foosball table at the school into a ping-pong table featuring a community mural on the tabletop surface. Squad members used drills to take apart the foosball table, prepped and primed the new table top, created 12-inch by 12-inch designs on paper, and then painted those designs onto the ping-pong tabletop before securing it to the table base with drills.
D.C. Wildlife and Habitat Preservation. During this unit, students learned about wildlife in D.C. and how to preserve their habitats. We spent a day in Rock Creek Park with local guest educators Chris and Nick (aka @TheBirdist) where we learned about hawks, vultures, nuthatches, robins, and more. Discussions during this unit focused on the excitement and challenges that come with being a bustling city that is filled with incredible green spaces and bodies of water.
Creative Minds Garden Education
In spring 2018, Urban Adventure Squad kicked off garden education programs at Creative Minds International Public Charter School. Students got their hands dirty as they worked alongside UAS program educators, who planned and led garden education programs that were integrated with the school's curriculum. These programs included interactive and imaginative lessons focused on cooking, building, designing, problem-solving, engineering, communicating, and more.
Specific activities included harvesting garden grown oregano to make fresh oregano pesto, which was highlighted as part of a profile on our work on the Green Schoolyards America website. Sixth grade science students experimented with different trellises for growing cucumbers and squash, and seventh grade science students spent time researching and designing a system to catch runoff rainwater. Young children learned about the lifecycle of plants and the importance of bees, and all students learning about preserving precious natural resources, and reusing materials instead of discarding them.
Through our work with CMI, we engaged over 400 students in grades PK3 through 7th grades.
If your school is interested in a UAS partnership, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.