19 Jan Schechter Manhattan and the City: Field trips to enhance student learning.

We were only back in school for a few minutes on Tuesday morning when I saw the 5th and 7th grades walking out of the front door, on their way to field trips.  This week Schechter Manhattan students in a number of grades took advantage of some of the many opportunities for learning outside of the walls of our schools.  New York City is filled with interesting organizations, especially museums, that provide engaging content and learning experiences to enhance the classroom learning we do in school.

On Tuesday, the 5th grade traveled to the Museum of Jewish Heritage to participate in one of the meetings of the Interfaith Living Museum program.   The program brings together students and faculty from Jewish day schools, Schechter Manhattan and the Kinneret Day School, and Islamic schools, the Al Ihsan Academy and Islamic Cultural Center School. Over the course of three months, students at Jewish and Islamic day schools engage in a program of cooperative learning. Students then share their new knowledge with peers, teachers, and family and community members in a culminating event at the Museum where they present an exhibition of personal artifacts that represent their respective heritages.  We aspire for Schechter Manhattan graduates to develop strong Jewish identities that they can bring to interactions and relationships that they will have in the diverse society in which they live. The Interfaith Living Museum takes advantage of the special learning opportunities available in NYC to give students powerful practice with the listening and communication skills needed to interact positively with all sorts of people, similar to and different from them.

The 7th grade was heading to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research to view an exhibit of rare books and manuscripts that were hidden and saved in the Vilna Ghetto during the Holocaust.  The 7th grade is in the midst of a unit of study about the Holocaust focusing on life inside ghettos.  This field trip enhances the students’ knowledge about the topic under study, through exploration of the content of the exhibit about the efforts of the people who worked to preserve the documents.  It also teaches important lessons about how history is recorded and studied, through engagement with primary sources and archives of materials.

On Thursday, it was the 1st-grade students venturing out into NYC, on their trip to the New York Transit Museum.  They are in the midst of a unit of study about New York City, and most recently focusing on transportation.  They have been considering the questions: How do people get around in NYC?  How has that changed over time?  At the New York Transit Museum, the students learned more about the various modes of transportation and community workers in New York City’s past and present through story reading and a tour of the Museum’s train collection.  They then applied their learning to a design challenge, by creating their own movable bus or train.

These three field trips that took place this week are examples of how all grades at Schechter Manhattan have learning opportunities out in New York City.  As in these examples, such trips are connected directly to the classroom curriculum.  They enrich student understanding so that students can apply learning from the classroom to the field trip experiences, and from the trips back into the classroom.  We are privileged to be Schechter Manhattan- a school in the city.


Shabbat Shalom

Benjamin Mann

Author’s Chair

Each week we will feature the written work of our students. We hope that you will stop back next week and see what they are writing and thinking about.


לעץ בניו יורק יש גזע ויש ענפים.  לעץ בישראל יש גזע ויש פרחים.
(etz b’New York yesh gezah v’yesh anafim.  Etz b’yisrael yesh gezah v’yesh pracheem.)
A tree in New York has a trunk and branches.  A tree in Israel has a trunk and flowers.


לעץ בישראל יש גזע
(l’etz b’yisrael yesh gezah)
A tree in Israel has a trunk.


בישראל יש פרות.  בניו יורק יש שלג.
(b’yisrael yesh peirote.  b’New York yesh sheleg.)
In Israel (the trees) have fruit.  In New York snow.



The 3rd and 4th-grade students reflected on whether or not the main characters in their books would make a good leader.

Click here to view work by Galya, Hayley, Zack, Maya & David



6th grade students have been working on their lab reports for their science exhibition on bacteria. Below are examples of some of the steps of the Scientific Method.

Problem: What is the effect of the type of cleaner used on bacteria growth on my skin?

Hypothesis: I think that soap will clean more. A lot of body washes are also designed for smell, and looks, whereas soap is only for cleaning.

Background Information: Bacteria are little cells that spread, sometimes for good, or for bad. Some help in different parts of your body, while some can kill. Bacteria are living, and can reproduce without a host.

They can survive without a host. They are prokaryotic cells, meaning they have a membrane, but no Nucleus. Dna floats through them unorganized, unlike in eukaryotic cells. There are three common shapes of bacteria: Coccus, like a sphere. Bacillus, like a pill, and Spiral.

For my project I am testing what cleaner prevent the most bacteria: Soap, or body wash. I will put one of the two on my hand, and then rinse it off, and test the bacteria by swabbing it, then put on the other, and wash it off, and swab that. This will show if you should use soap or body wash.  A lot of sources say that body wash is more hydrating.

–  Toby


Question: Does dishwashing a sponge keep it cleaner than simply putting soap on it?

Hypothesis: I think that dishwashing the sponge will clean it more, because it will have more soap on it. I know that the dishwasher is spraying soapy water on the sponge almost the entire cycle, so that would build up a lot of soap.

Background information: Bacteria are single celled prokaryotic life forms. That means that each bacterium is one cell that doesn’t use a nucleus to hold its genetic material. Bacteria can do all sorts of things. Though many can be the cause of sicknesses, most of them can’t hurt you. Some bacteria even help you digest food. Eubacteria are the average type of bacteria that live on surfaces. Archaebacteria live in extreme circumstances and are some of the oldest life forms on earth. Soap kills bacteria by destroying the cell membrane, which holds together all cells.

Heat in a dishwasher’s drying cycle can quickly kill bacteria along with soap, according to a study by the USDA. I have also heard about microwaving sponges, but did not test that. Heat kills bacteria and that is why cooking meat disinfects it.

–  Elijah L.


Problem Statement:  Which item has more bacteria: Trackpad vs. Mouse?

Hypothesis:  I think that the mouse has more bacteria than the trackpad because with a mouse you place your whole hand to use it, and with a trackpad you just use your fingers.


  1. Laptop w/ touchpad
  2. A computer mouse
  3. Petri dish
  4. Distilled water
  5. 2 q tips

–  Leeya