PTI
PTI Curriculum Units Events FAQ Contact Links
IMGALTTAG
IMGALTTAG Volume V: Pittsburgh Rivers


Pittsburgh’s Rivers and Their Impact on Life in the Region
Lea Blumenfeld
Arlington and Grandview Elementary Schools

The purpose of this unit is to explore with the children the topic of Pittsburgh’s rivers and their impact on life in the region. As with familiar landforms and landmarks that people pass by and over, most residents of the city and its environs do not possess an extensive knowledge of the rivers and their importance historically or presently. Since the library features a wide variety of subjects in its holdings and the librarian often presents material in an interdisciplinary fashion with other content teachers, the scope of this unit covers a number of topics.  It will examine the sources and extent of the three rivers as well as their history. Particular attention will be paid to the beginning of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the importance of the Ohio River as a conduit to freedom for enslaved Africans, the building of the Kinzua Dam with its attendant confiscation of First Nations’ lands, the rivers as a source of disease, and some of the many floods of these rivers.  Additionally, it will include the quality of the river water, the types of riverbeds they traverse, and the biodiversity of life in and along the rivers. The economic significance of Pittsburgh’s rivers to the region as well as to the country, both historically and presently, will be demonstrated. The impact of local industry on the health of the rivers and on the people whose livelihoods and recreation have depended on the rivers will be included. Recreational use of the rivers in the past and in the present will be explored. The classes will read and listen to some of the songs that have been written about the three rivers. Stories spawned by the rivers, fiction, folktale, and historical, will be presented to the pupils. The targeted participants will be third, fourth, and fifth graders, but for some of the activities, such as the songs and stories, the kindergartners through second graders will also be involved.


Click here to view complete unit.
IMGALTAG

How Acid Rain Affects Pittsburgh and Its Rivers
by Bethany Foster-Wilhelm

Pittsburgh has a serious problem with acid rain, with Pittsburgh’s acid rain pH being the worst in the country!  My students first conducted their own research on acid rain through reference books and the Internet. To supplement their research, two guest speakers from local universities were brought in to talk about acid rain. Students also conducted experiments on the causes and effects of acid rain. After completing several acid rain experiments, they were able to create their own acid rain experiments. As a culminating activity, the students created environmental art that was displayed in venues where other children could view them and learn about acid rain.

Acid rain is an international problem, yet you don’t hear much about it in the news. My role as a citizen and a teacher is to conserve energy and teach the next generation of policymakers about this problem and its solutions. My students are now empowered by their knowledge to make informed decisions about how their actions affect the environment. Their sharing of this knowledge with their families may even impact the behaviors of their parents and siblings.


Click here to view complete unit.
IMGALTAG

River Art
Mary Ann Gaser

River Art is an art curriculum unit designed for gifted seventh and eighth graders who attend Pittsburgh Gifted Center. It is an art course with a specific motivation, the Three Rivers. It is designed to take advantage the existing resources provided at the Pittsburgh Gifted Center. The Pittsburgh Gifted Center attends "School for A Day" at Heinz History Center every fall. The Pittsburgh Gifted Center holds "School for a Day" at The Carnegie Science Center every winter. In May, the Pittsburgh Gifted Center holds an extravaganza extraordinaire, The Spring Fling. The Spring Fling has games, food, a balloon man, prizes, The Pittsburgh Aviary, The Carnegie Museum of Art, a student art show and much, much more. The curriculum unit, River Art, is designed to take advantage of the permanent exhibits at the Heinz History Center and the Carnegie Science Center. It also proposes to make an admirable showing in the student art show at the Spring Fling.

Although, River Art, is designed to fit into the framework of the Pittsburgh Gifted Center the lessons will work in a standard art program.


Click here to view complete unit.
IMGALTAG

Pittsburgh, a City of Rivers and Bridges Past and Present
Joanne Marie Hattrup
Grandview Elementary School

My unit, Pittsburgh, a City of Rivers of Bridges, Past and Present, will explore and discuss the magnificent view of the city of Pittsburgh with an emphasis on the rivers and their bridges. Pittsburgh and its many neighborhoods and communities would be isolated and less accessible without bridges. The unit will focus on the 1700’s to 2003.  My goal is to awaken my students to these natural resources, the Allegheny, the Ohio, and the Monongahela, Pittsburgh’s three rivers, so they will realize their true uniqueness, beauty, magnitude, and purpose, not just in the United States but also throughout the world.  The unit will include some folklore and tales surrounding river life and the construction of the bridges. Students will individually sketch the rivers, boats, and landscape. They will collectively sketch, plan, and paint a mural showcasing what they learned. This unit will be taught in an interdisciplinary way in the art room, emphasizing the creative designs and diverse styles of various bridges as well as their architectural functions and form.

During a period of ten to twelve weeks, third, fourth, and fifth graders will be immersed in American art and regional western Pennsylvania art and architecture. This time frame can be adjusted to meet the students’ needs.  Students meet for forty-minute periods for approximately six classes each month.


Click here to view complete unit.
IMGALTAG

Down by the Riverside
Barbara Kengor

Down by the Riverside is a curriculum that combines the humanities and the sciences in order to provide students with a holistic approach to the study of Pittsburgh’s rivers. The curriculum follows a chronological time line beginning with the formation of the rivers to Renaissance II. The activities are designed for 3rd and 4th grade gifted students as a supplement to the regular curriculum in the form of an interest course. Students read a course description before enrolling in the class. Therefore many students have a solid foundation of information on the topic when the class begins. The curriculum uses hands-on experiments, singing, model building, drawing and designing to present a multi-sensory learning experience. The curriculum also uses supplemental books and writings that are mainly historical fiction to have students get a sense of what was happening in Pittsburgh years ago. Lastly, the curriculum incorporates the use of the World Wide Web as an information source to be used in research.


Click here to view complete unit.
IMGALTAG

Greetings From Pittsburgh:
The History of Pittsburgh and Its Rivers through Postcards
Candace Morgan
Schenley High School

This curriculum unit will engage students in a discovery of Pittsburgh and its rivers that will promote student achievement of district and state standards in communications, mathematics, citizenship, and the arts and humanities. Students will examine the history of Pittsburgh and its rivers by utilizing visual images to compare and contrast Pittsburgh of the past and present. The study of postcards, a field known as deltiology, will be used as a primary source of visual images. Postcard images provide unique glimpses into history, and in some cases, provide the only known historical record of events and places. This popular art form has left a rich legacy of  Pittsburgh images.

This unit has been designed for use with secondary Learning Support students, but can be adapted for use with mainstream secondary or middle school students.  It can be taught in an English or U.S. History class, or as an interdisciplinary unit taught by two or more teachers.


Click here to view complete unit.
IMGALTAG

The Hydrology of Allegheny County
F. Michael Real

This unit, on the Hydrology of Allegheny County, will give the students concrete examples of the processes they will be learning.  The learning will be further enhanced by the unit’s relevance to the students, in that they will understand the source and significance of the water they see and use each day.

This curriculum is directly applicable to the 11th grade course, Earth and Space Science, taught in Pittsburgh Public Schools. This course uses the text book “Earth and Space Science” by Spaulding and Namowitz, published by Heath in 1994.  The chapters to which this material can be applied are:

  • Chapter 9         Water moving underground
  • Chapter 10       Running Water

This unit will introduce students, taking Earth and Space Science, to the hydrology of the region in which they live, Pittsburgh and the surrounding Allegheny County. It begins with a classification of the forms that water is found in on earth and what per cent of the earth’s total water is represented by these classes.

This will be followed by an overview of the water cycle, water budgets, and the movement of water above and below ground. During this section students will be introduced to the representative characteristics of these topics found in Pennsylvania and more specifically, Allegheny County. The unit will conclude with an examination of the regions rivers.


Click here to view complete unit.
IMGALTAG

The Strategic Use of Pittsburgh Rivers during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), Civil War (1861-1865), World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945)
Ulysses R. Winn, Ph.D.

The purpose of this unit is to provide Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Cadets at the secondary level insight into the Strategic Use of Pittsburgh Rivers during four major wars. The cadets will be challenged to take an-in-depth look at the use of our local rivers as they apply strategic thinking to analyze the wars, i.e. the reasons, the quest for independence, economics, motives and learn about some of the local individuals who were instrumental in helping the U.S. become victorious in all four major wars. The most important questions they will ponder are: Where would the U.S war effort have stood in each of these wars without the contributions of Industrial Pittsburgh? And Did the Three Rivers (Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio) make a significant difference?

Teachers who desire to enrich Western PA’s influence on existing history curricula especially relating to major wars might be interested in using this unit.


Click here to view complete unit.
IMGALTAG

Chatham University
IMGALTTAG
IMGALTTAG
IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
IMGALTTAG
IMGALTTAG