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Main Street Students Construct Buildings Inspired By Mexican Architecture

Students build Meso-American building replicas
Students build Meso-American building replicas Photo Credit: Contributed

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Main Street School students, who are studying Latin American culture, economics and history as part of the fifth-grade curriculum, used recycled materials they brought from home to construct various buildings inspired by Mexican architecture. 

Aided by their newly acquired knowledge and a variety of materials, including spaghetti boxes, pencil boxes, aluminum foil, corks, cardboard tubes, bottle caps, toothpicks, beans and rice, the students put their imagination and creativity to work. Each student chose a building, from museums to churches and pyramids, that they found interesting and studied every small detail in the design in order to replicate it. 

“I like building things in general,” said fifth-grader Anya Murphy, who chose to replicate the Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico. “This is really fun that we get to do this in school. The project teaches me about architecture and how to build things with different materials. I had to figure out how to make my building stand so it doesn’t fall over.” 

Fifth-grader Morgan Balkin’s project was to replicate the Church of San Francisco. “I liked all the intricate details on the building,” said Balkin, who used clothespins for the pillars and made crosses out of toothpicks. “We get to build a model of something that was in history and use our imagination. We used the pictures as an inspiration for our buildings.” 

Teacher Julie Rostkowski said the project provided students with a hands-on learning experience as they continue to study Mexico’s rich history. “When you look at modern-day Mexico City, you can see the different aspects of the evolved time periods,” she said. “It’s one of the few areas in the world where the ancient civilization marks are still present.” 

Janet Roseff, an architect and artist-in-residence, has been helping the fifth-graders with their projects through a generous grant from the Irvington Education Foundation. 

The students will display their finished projects at the Meso-America Fair at Main Street School on April 29.

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