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Westgate’s broad shoulders hold Chicago high

November 15, 2016


Arlington Heights, IL – Westgate’s Chicago Fair Exhibit ignited all five senses using the rich culture and history of Chicago to tell the story of The Windy City’s neighborhoods.

From Hyde Park, to Lakeview and from the South Loop to Humbolt Park, students lined the walls with colorful and interactive displays and presentations giving spectators a quick feel for 24 of the 77 neighborhoods in Chicago.

Visitors ventured from display to display and asked questions, which were answered by informed and engaged students whose only task that day was to show off the neighborhood assigned to them.

Using the personalized learning model as a guide, each group was given the freedom to present their projects any way they wished. Buildings were constructed out of Legos or cardboard boxes to show off the variance in architecture. Displays also included pieces that represented the culture differences in the neighborhoods.

This event was brought to life at Westgate a few years back by the third/fourth grade multi-age teachers at Westgate when they noticed their students not fully grasping and understanding how people immigrated to Chicago and the impact it had on the neighborhoods.

“We wanted to bring the diverse culture of Chicago to life for the kids,” Hynek said. “These neighborhoods have changed so much over time, but the rich history of them helps better explain how immigration not only affected our city but also the country.”

The third graders at Westgate are in the midst of their unit where they study immigration history. They also study the history and the current makeup of Chicago.

The final two senses, smell and taste, were engaged by the Westgate parents, who volunteered to cook various dishes that aligned with the culture of the neighborhoods represented at the exhibit.

The evening of learning and engagement was one to remember, just 25 miles northwest of the city’s loop.

Adam Harris