Five New Lesson Plans join the CyArk and Teachers TryScience Websites!

by Katia Chaterji
May 13, 2015
CyArk is thrilled to announce the release of 5 new bilingual lesson plans! For a second year in a row, IBM has generously supported the development of CyArk’s lesson plans and educational resources. All five lesson plans are now available on CyArk’s website and on IBM’s Teachers TryScience web platform.

This year, CyArk worked in conjunction with five teaching professionals from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties to create 5 new lesson plans that truly expand CyArk’s geographic and cultural diversity represented in our online lesson plan database, engaging CyArk projects from around the globe and encouraging cross-disciplinary approaches to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. I would like to thank our wonderful teachers – Mr. Paul Rendone, Mr. Robert Schug, Ms. Nancy Ely, Ms. Jeannette Frechou, and Ms. Jenn Scheller – for joining us for a successful workshop and contributing their expertise to our new lesson plans!

CyArk also worked closely with Ms. Carolina Cortés Uzarska, conservator and art historian who currently resides in Ireland, to translate all 5 lesson plans into Spanish. Ms. Uzarska has contributed to CyArk’s Spanish lesson plan database for the second year in a row, and I would like to thank her personally, and on behalf of CyArk, for contributing her time and talents to make our lesson plans accessible to a larger constituency!

Please check out our new lesson plans online! They are now available on CyArk’s website and on IBM’s Teachers TryScience web platform. The lessons cover a wide range of subjects:

1. Building the Best: Comparing Observatories
In this lesson, students will learn about the social function and construction techniques of observatories in the past and today. Through an analysis of Chichen Itza and Chankillo, students will embark on their own research and reconstruction project, concluding in a 3D computer model or physical model.

2. Charting Social Issues: Urban Planning at Natchez
Students will study the relationship between Natchez, an early European settlement along the lower Mississippi River, with the concurrent slave trade within the context of the United States. Focusing on the changes within Natchez between the 1800s and today, students will investigate trends in urban planning and societal inequalities as a direct result of riverside slave market and auction towns.

3. Mapping the Impacts of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Students will learn in this lesson about the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and how this system has impacted our contemporary world. Through a study of maps, maritime travel, and oceanography, students will investigate the political and economic climates that supported the extensive slave trade, and will gain a deeper understanding of how a system of this kind has impacted the lives of individuals throughout history and today.

4. Form, Function, and Spirituality at Rani ki Vav
In this lesson, students will learn about the construction of stepwells, with particular emphasis on the origins of materials and modifications for better functionality. Through an analysis of Rani ki Vav, an ornate stepwell in northern India, students will study ceremonial traditions in relation to water and the intersection between functionality and spirituality.

5. Recreating El Camino Real
In this lesson, students will learn about the construction techniques of adobe structures in Spanish colonial architecture. Through a hands-on reconstruction project, students will engage in adobe construction and material testing, concluding in a research report connecting the historic missions to their contemporary city landscapes.

CyArk would like to thank IBM, our amazing teachers, and our translator for helping us launch these lesson plans! If you have any questions, comments, or stories to share from the classroom, please contact us at
Thanks to the support of IBM, CyArk facilitated a teacher workshop earlier this year which led to the creation of five new lesson plans.
All five lesson plans are available on IBM's Teachers TryScience website, a free web platform for teachers to access interesting and unique STEM lesson plans for K-12 classrooms.
CyArk's new lesson plans span across CyArk's diverse digital preservation projects, including the newly launched Atlantic Slave Trade theme.