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Designing a City

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Betsy Telle
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Designing a City

Lesson Plan of Betsy Telle

Middle School  Science Elective Class



This lesson will be used in a Science Elective class. One of the focuses of the course is Engineering. The course does not have specific standards or topics that need to be covered. There is a lot of freedom to explore various topics. This lesson will focus on City Planning from an engineering perspective.


Skill and Content Objectives:

MS-ETS1-1.Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.


Lesson Plan:


Day 1-

What does a city need?

-Students create a list of 5 things that they think a city needs.

-Students meet in pairs and combine their lists.

-Each pair then meets with another pair to combine their lists.

-Each group of 4 meets up with another group of 4 to combine their lists.

-Each group shares their list with the class.


Where do you meet?

-Teacher presents short lecture on the different communal areas and styles of various East Asian countries

-Teacher guides a class discussion on what communal spaces they would like to have in a city.


Day 2-

All Roads lead to Rome

-Students are shown various maps of cities from ancient Edo, current Tokyo, and ancient Rome.

-Students create a Venn Diagram comparing the layouts of the two cities.

-Class discusses the pros and cons of each style of street layouts


Make a Map:

-Students create a road layout for their own city. Students pick which style of street layout they think makes more sense for the city.

-Once students create their map of their city, students start adding the items the city needs from the list from the day before.


Day 3-

Nature in the City

-Students are asked about how much time they spend outside and what they do

-Teacher presents short lecture on Chonggyecheon River Revitalization

-Students work in groups to brainstorm ideas of what the class can do to help with the Restoration of the LA River

-Class discussion on how they can bring nature into the cities they are designing


Designing Nature into their City

-Students finish designing their city making sure to add various aspects of nature into their city.



Assessing Student Achievement:

Students’ maps will be assessed for the thought and care they put into their cities. How did they decide what the city had and how was it arranged. Did students intentionally put communal gathering places? Did they have open spaces? Did they create places of nature throughout the city?