The Bank Street approach to teaching and learning is grounded in the belief that students learn best when they are actively engaged with materials, ideas, and people in the world around them. In step with this approach, Bank Street College has partnered with Empire State Building to develop nine new age-appropriate lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students.
The curricula follows New York State Learning Standards for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and social studies curricula and combine a field trip to the Empire State Building in New York City with before, during, and after assignments. The partnership was led by the Graduate School of Education’s Continuing Professional Studies program.
“For over 100 years, Bank Street has advanced hands-on, student-centered learning grounded in developmental theory to help every child realize their unique potential,” said Joy Lundeen Ellebbane, Director, Continuing Professional Studies. “The new hands-on lesson plans provide authentic opportunities for deep learning and encourage students to ask questions, investigate, and experiment to build their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”
Teachers and students will utilize the curricula to learn about the building’s engineering, design process, workforce, major technological elements, and its recent industry-leading deep energy retrofit designed to cut the building’s emissions and save energy.
As part of the new learning experience, students explore the building’s interactive digital exhibits in the second-floor museum and continue up to the the newly reimagined open-air 86th-Floor Observatory, applying what they see and learn on site to the lessons in the curricula. The Empire State Building’s Observatory Experience completed a $165 million development in December 2019 hat complements all elements of the program and offers students the chance to experience the energy-efficient building from bottom to top.
Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory, said, “Bank Street College of Education created these updated curricula to make students’ visits to our immersive digital and tactile exhibits more than just a tourist experience. We have always offered lesson plans for school groups and, as we celebrate our 90th year, we have updated classroom engagement with our modern marvel in engineering and energy efficiency.”