This week we met at the Genesee Waterways Boathouse instead of our usual classroom. We were beginning the “explore” phase of our long term project, Seeking the Science in Our City. During our exporation phase we formulate a question about a scientific phenomenon in the city. In the coming weeks we will gather data and form conclusions, so stay tuned to our blog posts to find out what exciting questions we each come up with and how our investigations turn out.


Jim gives us the lay of the land

It appeared that it might rain and spoil our walk, so our schedule got rearranged a bit. We instead drove over to the First Federal Plaza in the city where we met with Jim, a local architect. We were also joined by our fearless leader, April. From our view on the nineteenth floor, we could see many of the bridges spanning the Genesee river on its path through the city. Jim discussed with us the aesthetic decisions that go into building a bridge. We also learned about a few of the other bridges; the Broad Street bridge is built over an old aqueduct, and the Sister Cities pedestrian bridge used to have a fountain, but the water was too dirty. I know I am very interested in exploring bridges as part of our project, and I know a few others were as well. If you want to see some cool bridges, check out Santiago Calatrava, per Jim’s recommendation.



The Douglass-Anthony Bridge


Apparently the old subway system goes through the old aqueduct

Bonus physics question: What’s going on with this bridge?


group picture

Group photo at the High Falls

Our next stop was the Ponte de Rennes bridge overlooking the High Falls. We started off with a two minute free write on the Genesee River on our whiteboards.



I learned some interesting facts from my classmates on the formation of the river in the area. Before a glacier cut through the area some fifteen thousand years ago, the river ran north into the Irondequoit Bay (Alanna). You can tell where the river’s course was changed by where the path cuts through bedrock (Jo Ann). Rochester’s nickname, the Flower City, was originally the Flour City after all the flour mills along the river (Eric). Check out the millstone near the end of the bridge.


After sharing our free writes, we jotted down some observations and questions to use for our project. Our work at the High Falls complete, it was time for snack next to the Maplewood Park Rose Garden.


Jo Ann provided some excellent sandwiches for snack, and also sparked some controversy with the inclusion of double stuffed oreos. We also discussed requirements for the General Science certification. For anyone who missed it, you need eighteen credits in your science of focus, and another eighteen among at least two other sciences.

A cool history lesson brought to you by Jo Ann: this part of the river by the Lower and Middle Falls was the last stop of the Underground Railroad. After following the drinking gourd north, escaped slaves would run down the hill to the river in order to catch a boat into Canada.


I thought the Lower Falls (above) were the most impressive of the three waterfalls.

middle falls

A powerplant at the Middle Falls? (How does it work?)


The Seat of Forgetting and Remembering. The sculpture was made using casts from local schoolchildren.

alanna thumbs up
Alanna did not get poison ivy.

Our last question for the day was which of the eight practices did we use and where did we use them. This post should be helpful if you forgot everything we did. The eight practices are:

  1. Asking questions & defining problems
  2. Developing & using models
  3. Planning & carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing & interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics & computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations & designing solutions
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, & communicating information

Our next meeting will take place at Seth Green Drive, across the river from where we were on Tuesday. If you need a ride meet Jo Ann at her office in LeChase before 3:00.


I played around with the GoPro camera a lot, so if anyone needs assistance with it let me know! I didn’t see any opportunities for cool video footage, but maybe there will be tomorrow!


For next class, the dice gods choose (numbers decided alphabetically by first name, Jo Ann is off the hook since I don’t have a nine-sided die):



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3 thoughts on “Fieldtrip!

  1. You managed to capture the spirit and the significance of the “adventure”. Excellent recap… and I loved the 8 sided dice… (I was lucky, there were only 8 sides… I feel as if I won the immunity challenge!)

  2. Wow! That bridge video is amazing! What amazes me most is that the people on the bridge are calmly walking off like its no big deal.

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