Social Studies Through Big Studies at Blue School

Over the course of the year, Primary Program students embark on a Big Study. These examples are a tiny snapshot of the deep, thoughtful, responsive studies that develop over the course of a year. Please note, these are samples of Big Studies. Every year there are shifts in the content of these studies.

Ks Big Study centered around storytelling last year. Kindergarteners were swept up in a study of Fairy Tales and puppetry. Students turned their classroom loft into a castle, wrote daily letters to a friendly knight (who wrote back), enjoyed writing their own fairy-tales both as a class and individually. In the STEAM lab, students build micro-libraries that they filled with books and spread around our neighborhood.

1st graders studied playgrounds. They visited playgrounds throughout the city, met with architects, authors, designers and city planners. They investigated issues of safety, access and advocated for (and created) updated signage to enforce existing rules. They created the playground of their dreams in the STEAM lab, built an adventure playground on the roof, and learned about and created simple machines.

2nd graders spent the year thinking about the Brooklyn Bridge. They immersed themselves in the history of the building of the bridge, met with engineers, built their own replicas, and connected their study of the bridge to the history of our Seaport neighborhood.

3rd graders studied immigration. They deepened their knowledge of the neighborhoods in NYC, getting to know how immigration and immigrants have shaped the city. They spent time talking with individuals about their recent immigration stories, met with lawyers, visited the Tenement Museum multiple times, and reflected on the importance of objects that connect us to home.

4th graders immersed themselves in the Middle Ages. Their study began with what they knew: knights, kings, queens, England, dragons… and moved quickly to ask what stories are not told at first glance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Cloisters-- how do you research the women and the peasants of the Medieval Period? What happened during the Middle Ages in other countries?

5th graders studied activism through the lens of American History. They visited NYC sites connected to the Civil Rights Movement, to LGBTQIA+ Equality, to the Feminist Movement. They researched an activist, trying to understand the many stories that make a person who they are-- and wrote research papers, gave oral presentations and created art pieces.