With my lower elementary Montessori class (6-9 year olds) we are looking at cities. What they have and more specifically, who decides what is in a city. The learning objective for the lesson was for the children to know who is reponsible for town planning.

The project (based on the method DaVinci topic ‘The world in the future’) begins with looking at parts of a town or city which are above ground and the next lesson looks at what is underground. After that we look at cities around the world on different continents and we travel to the past to discover how things have changed.  The next lesson focusses on religious buildings and finally the children are asked to think about towns and cities of the future.

Introduction

I started by reading them the story ‘Rapido’ about a delivery van which delivers packages throughout a city. It is a simple story with predominantly black and white pictures. It shows all kinds of buildings which can be found in a city. This was to give them ideas for the activities.

Information transfer- who is responsible for town planning?

The information transfer part of the lesson focussed on our town and the facilities which it has. We discussed the fire brigade, ambulance, hospital and police services. We talked about the people who are in charge of deciding which facilities and buildings are allowed in the town. The mayor together with the councilors  makes a proposal and the town council vote on whether or not the plan will be accepted. If they say no, it doesn’t happen.

Small group discussion

The children worked in groups and came up with a list of all the things they thought were important to have in a city. After this, each group had to make a top 5. Each group was at this moment acting as the mayor and councilors.

Whole class debate

Next, a representative from each group proposed a building for the new city and the rest of the class (acting as the town council) voted on whether or not the proposal was accepted. The first proposal was for a school- accepted.    The second proposal was for a factory, this lead to uproar, most of the class (town council) was against this proposal. The group (mayor and councilors) were asked to explain why they thought it was necessary. “We need a factory otherwise we won’t have any stuff, the factory makes the stuff we buy in the shops……” this left the town council more divided, some could see the logic, but some didn’t want a smelly factory in their town. Motion was shelved for further discussion later…..

Information transfer- how to make a paper house

Then came the whole class moment in the lesson where they were given a lesson in how to make a paper house. Each child chose a size of origami paper appropriate to the size of building they wanted to make and in a colour of their choosing. The whole class made the same building at the same time, learning the steps as they went along.

Individual work

The basic house shape was then adapted, added to and so on to make it into the building that the child wished to make for the new town.

Class project

The buildings the children made were placed on a large cardboard box to make the town. Later roads, street lights, a park and other things were added to make the town come alive.

More pictures to follow, we haven’t finished it yet!

The next step

Lesson 2 is all about what can be found under a town. This is the reason for the box, we can add all the cables and pipes to the underside during the next lesson.