Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Innovation Virtual Learning Series: Week 13

June 22, 2020 Innovation Impact

Introducing a New Learn by Doing Component

In our continued efforts to help parents, students and educators, The Henry Ford is providing helpful tips that assist parents in adapting its educational tools for implementation at home and this week we are introducing a Learn by Doing component for our Wednesday Innovation Journey Live! 

We’ve been sharing the habits of an innovator from our Model i learning framework for the last few weeks and this week our focus is on how innovators must be empathetic.  This Wednesday we will be learning about Caring for the Environment at the Ford Rouge Plant with The Henry Ford’s Curator of Agriculture and the Environment, Deb Reid. 

Jessica Stock and Deb Reid will share the Innovation Journey of the Rouge with you and Alex Cavinee will share this Learn by Doing activity. The necessary materials and directions are included here so you can be prepared to join Alex and build your own river system!

Be Empathetic: Caring for the Environment at The Ford Rouge


  • Rectangular baking pan
  • Wedge-type object to prop up one side of the pan
  • Dirt or sand
  • Plastic toys, sticks, grass, leaves that you have at home
  • Water
  • Cup

Build your own river system!
To help you understand how humans changed the shape of the Rouge River and how these shifts impacted the environment around the Rouge, use household materials to create your own mini-river system. Take it a step further by drawing a map of your river.


  1. Fill a baking pan with dirt or sand.
  2. Use your hands to cut (or dredge) a path through the dirt. Make sure to start at one end of the pan and end at the other.
  3. Use your wedge object to prop up one side of your pan. Only about an inch.
  4. Place toys (leaves, pieces of grass, etc.) along the sides of your path – these are your houses, buildings or crops.
  5. Fill a cup with water. Slowly pour the water onto the start of your river. Watch as the water flows.
    1. Where does the water go?
    2. Why do you think the water went that direction?
    3. Did some of your houses flood?
    4. Were your crops washed away?
    5. What can you do the prevent the flooding?
  6. After making some observations, “dredge” a new path for your river. Try again!
  7. Once you have made your river, draw a map!

We hope you join us this Wednesday.

Model i, educational resources, innovation learning

Facebook Comments