6th Grade Fieldwork Brings Social Studies and English Language Arts Coursework to Life

Bringing academic coursework to life through interactions with real-world experts is one of the cornerstones of our approach at TEA.

Over the past year, we’ve been connecting with experts over zoom meetings or similar to help keep our students engaged. Fortunately over the past few months, we’ve been able to return to in-person interactions with experts both far and near.

Most recently, our 6th-Graders traveled to Reno to meet with four different experts. They met with experts at the Lilley Museum at UNR and with activists Bin Bin Erwin and Khalilah Cage at Francis Newlands park in Reno’s Old Southwest neighborhood. The goal of these expert interactions were to provide first hand experiences to students as they grappled with these Social Studies and English Language Arts guiding questions:


– What does it feel like to be uprooted?
– What are examples of people being uprooted today?
– Whose names are represented/remembered/heard?
– Whose names (and histories) of places are not voiced, or silenced?
– What is the actual history of a place, and how does that compare to the naming of it?
– How does a place become influenced by people who colonize an area?


Students first headed to the Lilley Museum at UNR, where they examined and appreciated an art exhibit called “En Medio”– which showcased the plight of many who have crossed the US/Mexico border. The “En Medio” exhibit attempts to stimulate dialogue and raise consciousness about issues related to the act of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border through all the facets of art. The exhibition includes artists from all over the world that explore the theme of this show through music, photography, painting, video and performance art. Participating artists include: Rafael Blanco, Ana Teresa Fernández, Guillermo Galindo, Xandra Ibarra, Tom Kiefer, Kiara Aileen Machado, Jean-Paul Perrotte, Josué Rivas. The exhibit was curated by Vivian Zavataro and Jeannette Martinez in collaboration with Dr. Deborah Boehm.

After that, they met with TEA Parent Natalie Garnett, who is in the process of creating an exhibit for a project called HT94 (Hostile Terrain 94), which is a participatory exhibition created by the Undocumented Migration Project, a non-profit organization that focuses on the violent social process of immigration and raises awareness through research, education, and outreach. HT94 is composed of 3,400 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert from the mid-1990s to 2020. Students will fill out toe tags, and the intent is that the act of writing out the names and information for the dead invites participants to reflect, witness and stand in solidarity with those who have lost their lives in search of a better one.

After the trip to UNR, the 6th graders travelled to Francis Newlands park in Reno’s Old Southwest neighborhood. This name of this park (and neighborhood) park has recently encountered controversy and criticism with regard to who the park is named for. They met with two local activists, Bin Bin Erwin and Khalilah Cage, who have been working toward a name change over last year. You may find more information on this HERE , HERE and HERE.