Recycling Springs

    A Metropolitan Community

    created by second grade students at The Ellis School

Welcome to The Ellis School's second graders' model of a metropolitan community. In their roles as city planners, the Ellis second grade students made decisions about the placement of their newly constructed services in the Central Business District, city or suburban neighborhoods or outlying areas. They took into consideration such issues as aesthetics, usage, space restraints, noise, and pollution. The girls also gave special attention to green building and planning. Look for examples of solar panels, rooftop gardens, rain barrels, rooftop rain gardens, white roofs, windmill farms, and green spaces.

The girls worked in cooperative learning groups to design and construct streets, bridges, tram, tunnel, incline, parking facilities, signage, parks and recreational spaces. As neighborhoods and services sprang up, the girls positioned their single-family homes as well as the town houses, apartment houses and duplexes they made with a partner.

Mathematics was integrated into real-life problem solving. Students used math skills as they considered:
Land Area: Each single family home in the city neighborhood was allotted 4 times the area of the base of their house. Houses in the nature-conscious area were allotted 6 times the area of the base of their houses. These specifications required the girls to consider zoning issues and how to plan their green space.

Scale of the mountain: Using the vertical scale of our ½ pint milk carton houses (3 inches = 20 feet), we determined the height of our Echo Mountain: 108 inches = 720 feet (We determined that Recycling Springs is at sea level. :-) )

The four different ways to dispose of solid waste: compost, recycle, incinerate, and landfill. The girls were shocked to learn that in 2011 Americans produced approximately 243,000,000 tons of landfill trash which is equal to the weight of 80,000,000 male elephants.

Airplanes: We learned about the size of a Boeing 747 and Airbus 319. We compared the aircrafts’ weight, length, wingspan, passenger capacity and then the length of the runway required for take-off.

Parking rates: The girls discovered that parking rates are much higher in the city centers and city neighborhoods as compared to suburban areas.

How did the girls make these 360-degree views of their businesses and services?

Using a camera on a tripod and a specially-marked turntable, the girls documented their work to create a virtual tour of each student's service. In partnerships, one student moved the turntable in 10-degree increments while her partner took photos to create a 360-degree digital view of the model.

In class, the girls put the names of their services in alphabetical order, to create the directory, which appears below. Click on any business or service name to explore it further.

Enjoy exploring!

Our Business and Service Directory:


Birds on Birds Sunrise Aviary
The Brush, Brush Dentist
Candlelit Plaza Hotel
Cute and Adorable Pets
Deliciously Delectable Bakery
Easy Access Library
Gas on the Go
Golden Bank
Golden Friendship Church
Golden Lighted Movie Theatre
Oui La Restaurant
Speedy Fast Mail
Speedy Store
World News Communication


Welcome to our community! We hope you enjoy your visit.

The Ellis School - 6425 Fifth Avenue - Pittsburgh, PA 15206