If you can see past the tired board and actually read the words, this was a surprisingly successful exercise which was supposed to last 15 minutes or so in preparation for a future activity. It ended up lasting the full period with an enthusiastic S2 class who relished tackling the problem. We had suggestions which led to landscaped eco-housing which utilized space on the mountains enclosing the city (for so long seen as a barrier), a hi-tech bike train and monorail powered by solar and tidal energy, underwater colonies based on actual pilot developments, Bi-level cities separating traffic to the lower level and leisure space to the sky level and a number of other great ideas. We are going to collect some bits of audio where the students can talk more about their suggestions and can come back to this afterwards. The lessons for me here were 1) that students can surprise themselves with the level of their thinking 2) that it pays to come off a timeline to explore student creativity and 3) that even supposedly 'tired' topics can have some mileage if the learning is opened up to student interest. This is a unit I have been thinking seriously about sidelining, but activities like this and some of the associated content should be brought to wherever we go next with our curriculum if we want to keep it relevant and engaging.
Posted via email from Mr O'D's class posterous