One Square Block
One Square Block is designed to hone students’ skills of observation, critical thinking, and problem-solving, all necessary tools for effective watershed stewards.
Every block tells a story—of plants and animals, history and culture, soil and water. One Square Block™ invites students to explore a single square block in their community—their own neighborhood, a local park, the schoolyard—and create poetry, art, and reports about what they find there.
Younger students may create field guides to plants, trees, and animals on their block; they’ll learn where their water comes from, where the rain runoff goes, and who lived there a long time ago. Older students may investigate land use, transportation, zoning, and other specifics; they conduct oral histories and learn to identify architectural details, weather patterns, and geographic information systems (GIS) coordinates. Each block project will post a detail-rich, standardized “block print” online and compare its block with other blocks from around the world.
We have developed and piloted about ten activities for One Square Block with great success. We are currently working with both Saint Mary's faculty and community partners to expand our offerings, which will eventually include a full K-12 range of exciting and interactive place-based classroom and field activities.