Once there were six Chinatown in San Jose, California. The last Chinatown, Heinlenville, was buried under a municipal bus
yard for decades. Students of Cureton Elementary of San Jose and students of
Stevens Creek Elementary of Cupertino sketched and studied real artifacts from
an archeological dig and distilled their knowledge into three animations. To view the final animations, click on the "showcase" tab in the menu bar. Formative ideas on the project can be found at my Okada Design blog. I created this site so other educators might improve upon what I have done and adapt this project and process to their classroom studies of local history.
Fourth Graders of Cureton Elementary in Alum Rock, San Jose and two
classes of Stevens Creek Elementary in Cupertino California participated
in Picking Strawberries on Gold Mountain,
an animation workshop series integrating social studies, art and
technology. Using basic archeology procedures,
students studied artifacts and reflected on their discoveries by
creating local history films designed for the Third Graders at their
schools and elsewhere. Students were introduced to digital animation
tools and the many stepped collaborative process of claymation
animation. Students rotated through the different roles of photographer,
animator, director and narrator. Below: snippet of project process:
The development of the project was made possible by a unique loan of dig artifacts from the City of San Jose and the Sonoma State Anthropological Studies Center. This is the only such loan of these artifacts to date and offered students a unique opportunity to handle and see real artifacts otherwise not accessible. Historian Connie Young Yu also loaned personal family artifacts from Heinlenville for this project. The Chinese Historical and Cultural Project provided resource materials and a movie, Home Base, to share with students. History San Jose provided archival photos for the animations.
Many thanks to The Alum Rock Education Foundation for the Mini-Grant supporting material costs of the Cureton Elementary portion of the project. This project is also made possible by the generous donation of photocopies services by Mentor Graphics.