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Students build small city at Don Pedro
First-graders get visual lesson of development based on The Little House
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Albaro Fuentes (left) was all smiles when he showed an American flag atop his police department building to classmate Juan Hernandez who brought to Don Pedro School his model of a hospital. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

The cafeteria floor on Don Pedro Elementary School was covered with a mock city Friday afternoon for an exercise to teach children on how communities spring forth on the land.

All three first-grade classrooms participated in the exercise, which drew a number of interested parents. The effort was designed to go along with a reading unit on "community" and the reading of the 1942 "The Little House" book written by Virginia Lee Burton. The story centers on a house built on a hill top in the country. Eventually a road is built in front of the house, followed by roadside stands, gas stations, and more houses. Other improvements come and the house becomes sad because she misses being on the small hill in the countryside.

The construction of models - made of any material the student chose - took place over a three-week period. Students were allowed to choose what type of structure they wanted to build, whether it was a hospital, police and fire station, library, bus station, school, church, house or business. Valeria Plancarte, for example, constructed her own little version of Walmart, complete with art of products on the interior walls. Other students built miniatures of the Ceres Fire Station #1 and Ceres Police headquarters. Students were encouraged to visit the real building to get an idea of its design.

Some students created their buildings of Legos, others used cardboard, construction paper and even brown paper bags.

The entire town was placed on a blanket of green construction paper to symbolize grass and measured approximately 28 feet by 17 feet on the floor of the multi-purpose room.

The project was overseen by teachers Emily Goodwin, Rikke Christiansen and Elizabeth Cooke.