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Students work in small groups to design a sustainable city. After exploring examples of innovation in some of the world’s best known cities they consider specific sustainability challenges that must be overcome to meet the energy, transportation, food, green space and waste management needs of the urban population.
After investigating further how cities have developed sustainable solutions to each of these five challenges, teams brainstorm the specific elements they will include in their urban designs. Upon agreement, the group first creates a 2-dimensional scale plan of their city to serve as a template for a 3-dimensional model.
Culminating activities include a ‘class tour’ of the different 3-D cities, evaluating the sustainability features of the various designs and the creation of a "Sustainability Charter" to guide all citizens in bringing a more sustainable lifestyle to their communities.
Students are supported with a number of excellent tools that include slide presentations, planning outlines, templates for drawing and designs work and links to additional information.
The challenge requires students have a basic understanding of sustainability.
This challenge allows students to demonstrate their understanding of sustainable development in a tangible way. As such it can be considered a valuable resource in any unit of study that deals with sustainability.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
Students create their own sustainable designs based on information from different sources and the experiences of different cities as described in the resource materials.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The students must consider the interplay of the three dimensions to complete the task of designing a 'green' city.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The task of designing a sustainable city illustrates the complexity of the challenge of meeting environmental, social and economic needs.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Action does not go beyond reflecting and planning stages.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
Student values are formed and reflected in collaboration with other team members in the design process.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Good|
The importance of the natural world and the benefits of incorporating nature into the urban landscape are made clear.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Examples of urban sustainable design from different cities are provided to illustrate what is possible. The students' designs are influenced by their own communities and experience.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Attention is paid to the growth of our ecological footprint over time and the need for changes in our behavior going forward.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students rely on lessons learned from urban case studies and factual information relating to energy use, food supply, transportation, nature and waste. Links to a range of additional sources of information are also provided.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The lesson addresses outcomes in geography, technology, social studies and citizenship education
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
This stem lesson is presented as a challenge for teams of students to complete with some direction from the teacher.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Students gather information from slides, printed material and on-line research. The design component of the challenge compliments a range of learning styles.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The challenge requires that students attempt to solve real-world problems related to sustainability. There is a significant 'hands-on component' to the design requirements of the challenge.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work in collaborative groups to plan, design and evaluate the success of their model cities.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
While meaningful opportunities for evaluation are present, assessment tools and suggestions are not included in the resource.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
|Peer Teaching||Poor/Not considered|
Peer teaching opportunities are limited to working as a member of a team to design, build and present a model of a sustainable city.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Students gain a good deal of their information and ideas from examples of how existing cities have addressed sustainability.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Very Good|
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|