Second Graders Bridge Disciplines, Cultures, and Continents through Technology

One of the chief goals of technology classes at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's is to integrate technology instruction into the classroom curriculum for each grade as a whole. “We work with teachers to learn more about what they are teaching,” said Darcey Blake, technology integrator, “so that the technology curriculum would mirror their studies.” Since second grade does a year-long study of the seven continents, their geography, and cultures of the people who live there, Ms. Blake and Director of Technology Liam Webster aligned the curriculum to include technologies of indigenous people from around the world.

To start the year, second graders worked on stop-motion movies illustrating Pangea, the supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras, and how the land masses moved to where they are today. As second grade moved on to South America, so did their technology lessons. Ms. Blake and Mr. Webster looked to the Q'eswachaka Rope Bridge in Peru, a wonderful representation of early technology and engineering. This bridge is the last remaining example of the Incan handwoven bridges that were built within the Incan road system. Every June in Quechua, Peru, the native Peruvians renovate and rebuild the Q'eswachaka Bridge during a three-day village ceremony.  

To honor the Quechua culture and take a hands-on approach to understanding the evolution of technology, the second graders have been working diligently to reconstruct this bridge in their technology classroom since November. Students have broken out into groups, being assigned to stations such as the knotting, twisting, and braiding, and tasked with roles such as tightener, twister, or safety monitor during construction. Thanks to their hard work and cooperative teamwork, the second grade builders completed their bridge, which will be displayed prominently in the lobby during the first week of February.