On November 5, 2019, Northside students, staff members, and STEAM Coordinator Gemelli Briceño traveled to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, Brooklyn. At the Aquarium, students were introduced to the research being undertaken for the DDC STEAM Building for Animals curricula which focuses on what it takes to design and build shelters for animals in zoos and aquariums.
The Northside Center for Child Development After School program is a behavioral-mental health clinic that provides therapy and early education services, including early intervention programs, therapeutic early childhood services and a Head Start Program. Northside is located in the heart of East Harlem and serves children from PS 108, the Mosaic Preparatory Academy, and the Harlem Link Charter School.
The students visited Glover’s Reef Conservation Hall, the Shark Exhibit, and the Sea Lion Show in the Amphitheater. At each exhibit students observed the design and infrastructure techniques used to ensure the safety and comfort of the animals and they engaged in a discussion of the building design process. Ishmael Bandeh, a 7th grader at MS 108, observed, “Animals are essential to our environment and development is something that is ongoing. As animals grow, their environment should be updated.”
This initiative is part of DDC’s STEAM’s efforts to develop a “Building for Animals” curriculum that highlights techniques and designs best suited for public projects that involve living animals. The students learned about how species that are becoming extinct can be saved through recreated natural habitats and what it takes to make their living space comfortable and meet their needs.