3rd Grade Monuments, Memorials, & Landmarks Projects (by Mrs. JoAnn Renken)

All over the United States there are places set aside to remember people and events that have helped shape our country. Those places are known as National Historic Landmarks, Monuments, and Memorials.  In 3rd grade, as a part of our study of American History, we do a deep dive to learn about some of these historically important places and the events that lead to their construction.  During our Reading lessons we began learning about some of these historic buildings such as the Statue of Liberty and the Jefferson Memorial. Students were curious and excited to learn about the history behind these landmarks.  Following that and  during Social Studies in the spring, we explore more landmarks, monuments, and memorials that exist across the nation.  Let the fun begin!  

Students get to choose a landmark, monument, or memorial to explore.  Students build a 3-D model with the help of their families.  No kits are allowed, so students and families become very creative!   We’ve had a Barbie-doll Statue of Liberty painted green and draped with a green cloth.  She was adorned with a crown complete with the 7 points to represent the 7 continents.  We’ve had a 4 foot tall Empire State building, a model of the Pony Express complete with the building to exchange the horse, the Golden Gate Bridge with bright orange towers, the Oklahoma Bombing Memorial built from legos, the 9/11 Memorial with trees and the reflecting pond, and the Washington Memorial built out of marshmallow treats and the surrounding grounds with 50 flags.  On the night of Open House there is a display of projects in both 3rd grade classrooms so the children can show off their hard work and new knowledge of American history.

In addition to building their landmark, monument, or memorial, students learn how to write a research paper in class.  The goal is to write about their landmark, monument, or memorial using the research tools available to younger students.  The teachers walk the students through the process, taking it slow and steady until the research paper is complete and ready to present to their peers.  During the process 3rd graders learn about reliable sources, how to take notes, and then how to turn those notes into complete sentences in their own words. Oftentimes the writing process is a time of collaboration with 8th grade students. 8th grade students guide the 3rd graders as they use their notes to create their sentences. A rough draft and final copy are completed. Then students learn how to create a citation page and cover page with an image of their landmark, monument, or memorial.  

This can be a long but fulfilling time for the students.  They learn a lot, collaborate a lot, and work hard a lot.  On Open House night, they are thrilled to share what they have learned and built.  Their work is amazing!