The students in a mixed-age (8 to 10) team-taught class at the Open Charter School spend a good part of their year on a project designing a city of the future for the urban area in which their school is located. Below are some illustrations of their city-building activities.
First, planning the city's layout:
Creating a History Wall for the new city:
Commission building plans:
Detailed maps done with the computer:
Three-dimensional models built by the students:
With one computer for every two students in the class, students are able to use technology when they feel it would support their assigned tasks. Students use word processing software in writing their city plans and descriptions. A drawing program (Canvas) is used when they need to design objects and buildings. HyperCard stacks and animations are used to illustrate the work of the various city commissions and neighborhood groups. Spreadsheet software is useful when it is time to calculate the effect of a decision under consideration on some variable (e.g., the effect of a building height limit on the number of residents that can be accommodated) and to graph survey responses. A portion of the city building activities were videotaped and edited to produce QuickTime clips for a multimedia record of the project.