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Thread: Teaching kids about planning

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Teaching kids about planning

    Today, I was roped into (with NO notice) by one of our engineers, to speak to a class of "at-risk" high school students about planning. They are studying government and have a project to build a 3-dimensional city. I was ad-libbing and moderately bombing until I mentioned a class where the professor gave us the option of taking a final or playing a game (the original Sim City). Three-quarters of the class started waving their hands and telling me they had played it - one said she had every version and add-on out there - and then it clicked. It was amazing. Obviously, Sim City is not highly accurate, and sure doesn't simulate writing reports and going in front of hostile citizens and commissions, but at least it gave them a clue.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I believe I have even seen a SimCity curriculum out there, designed for teaching planning to non-planners. Anybody know if it?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    I believe I have even seen a SimCity curriculum out there, designed for teaching planning to non-planners. Anybody know if it?
    I'll check with Prudence. He does our annual schpeel to the schools. (I avoid it like the plague)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    I seriously didn't know what planning/zoning was until college. I get to speak to a variety of ages and I'll ask them up front who knows what it is, and see if they can explain it. They can't explain it much better than I can (who really can?!), but they have a pretty good idea of what it is.

    Are kids *that* much smarter today? I've never played Sim City, so I can't use that angle. I just have to struggle through....

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    The CIP has prepared a Kid's Guide to Planning. The order form and some additional info is on the web site. Having looked at it briefly, and knowing who prepared it, it is probably a worthwhile investment if you talk to schools frequently.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I had to do one of these once. A group of 8th graders came in with their teacher and I had to give the discussion because I was the "kid".

    I sure wasted some taxpeyer dollars that day. I don't even think the teacher could stay awake. I don't think kids have much of an interest in planning, I didn't know anything about until I was in college. Damn, maybe if I did catch on a little earlier.....

  7. #7
    I spoke to a group of gifted middle schoolers 2 weeks ago. They are in a national competition that uses SimCity. They play the game and turn that it and build a model out of recycled materials.

    It was really amazing how responsive they were. This year's competition focuses on environmental remidiation. We talked about buffering industrial uses etc and they totally got it.

    I teach City planning and use it in my theory class. The students just finished their mid-term project, to build a city (Garden City, Radiant City, Disney's Celebration etc) and determine whether the theorized model is relevant and economically viable in today's society.

    There is a teacher's guide on the SimCity website that provides information for teaching school aged children.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I have done this a few times... I almost always bring an aerial photograph with me. The kids love to see what their City looks like from the air and if you get into issues affecting their town, it helps to have the photo. Plus afterward, they all scamper down to check out where they live (you may want to bring a road map so you can search if you don't have street names on the aerials).

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ecofem's avatar
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    For what it's worth - I taught a 3rd Grade Junior Achievement class at an inner-city school last year called "Our City" which spends a lot of time talking about Planners and their role. Once you strip the lesson plans of their capitalistic gobbledygook, the kids really enjoyed it. (I think?)

  10. #10
    Member Nemesis's avatar
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    I tought a seminar on growth and planning to Juniors in a Liberal Arts college one. They had no clue on issues surrounding spawl, but mention sim city, and it was "oh, I get it"

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