History Students Design and Build Model Tenements

Dr. Jordan Reed’s 11th Grade history students learned about the urban experience of early 20th century immigrants on Wednesday, February 11th by constructing a model New York City tenement block in the Center for Innovation & Design.

Using a kit created by teacher Matt Martino using the 3-D printer, the students worked in teams to assemble individual apartments that a typical impoverished urban American would occupy in early 1900s New York City. When creating their models, the students factored in the number of occupants as well as the number of toilets. They then stacked the apartments to create tenement buildings that were 3 to 5-stories each — and contrasted them to modern living conditions.

As part of the unit, the students will connect the activity with Jacob Riis’ book, How The Other Half Lives, which documents the squalid living conditions of the New York City slums in the late 1800s.  


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