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Educating little kids about planning

Friend of Flavel

Cyburbian
Messages
30
Points
2
One of our City Council members is speaking to a large group of 3rd graders this Friday and wants me, as a rep. of the planning dept., to come along and talk to the kiddies about planning in our city. Ugh! I've spoken to older kids about planning, but none that are this young. I don't have kids so I could really use some help (quickly, please!) with some ideas that will engage 100 or so 3rd graders for 45 minutes. Thanks in advance!!!!
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
45 minutes is too long. Planning is a concept that is so intellectual. Knowledge economy problems. I would equate this with explaining how futures in the stock market work.

You might try focusing on things kids are interested in. Parks, zoos, shopping, bike paths etc. and how the city process helps to make these reality.
 

PlannerByDay

Cyburbian
Messages
1,827
Points
24
GRAPHICS, MAP, AERIAL PHOTOS ETC. and lots of them

Kids this age will need something visual to keep them occupied.

Show them the exsiting and future land use maps for the community and tell them in 3 grader lingo what it is used for..

Show them aerials and explain what you use them for.

Have them pick out their homes on the aerials.

Explain what the Census is and how the social and economic characteristics of a communtiy are important. Maybe you could use pie charts and bar graphs.

Keep it Visual and don't bore them with stuff like zoning, they will not understand it.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
ludes98 said:
45 minutes is too long. Planning is a concept that is so intellectual. Knowledge economy problems. I would equate this with explaining how futures in the stock market work.
What futures in the stock market? I wasn't aware of the ability to buy futures in anything but commodities. Buying futures on stocks kinda defeats the point, I think. Why not just buy the stock?
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
jordanb said:
What futures in the stock market? I wasn't aware of the ability to buy futures in anything but commodities. Buying futures on stocks kinda defeats the point, I think. Why not just buy the stock?
I was generalizing, sorry. Futures are in commodities. Stock purchases are options, a call or put.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Back on topic, Planner by Day has it right, especially with the aerials and finding their homes. Of course, you could always read them a Kunstler essay to two. ;)
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,904
Points
57
Chet said:
Of course, you could always read them a Kunstler essay to two. ;)
You don't want to make children cry, do you?

I agree with make it visual, visual, visual.

I'm a 19th grader and I still get really excited about visuals ;-)
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
They also love telling you all the stuff their town doesn't have that they want, and where it should go (Chuckie Cheese next door to their houses rate high, as do skate parks). They may need help with the aerials, though. I've worked with kids and planning before, and we're all so accustomed to seeing things from 9600 feet up that it's easy to forget how weird it all looks from above. Kids love aerials, because it's like flying, but they should be well-labled. I found that out the hard way. And we also tried having them draw on trash over the aerials--didn't work. Just let them draw right on the aerials, the trash gets moved around and then you get complaints of "Hey, he moved my house away from the skate park!" and so on.
But it's lots of fun, and the kids I worked with anyway were totally open to planning concepts, and had some pretty good suggestions.
Enjoy!
(Just try to limit cookie intake, and remember that Sharpies and Prismas are permanent).
 

solarstar

Cyburbian
Messages
207
Points
9
You've had some great suggestions. I have a 4th grader, and she still doesn't have much of an idea about what Mommy does every day. The best I've managed to get across is that I "tell people where they can build things", and usually can tell her ahead of time what store, restaurant, etc, is going where. Make it personal like that (Wal-Mart wants to go here, or 150 houses want to go there, etc.) on a very colorful map and you'll have their attention. A skateboard park was a good idea, and another discussion could be where a new waterpark could/should go. Good luck!
 

martini

Cyburbian
Messages
678
Points
19
Don't lecture to them. Especailly for 45 minutes(jeeez!). I'd suggest getting creative with a project. Give them a blank sheet, give them a few rules and have them design a town, or neighborhood. Or use blocks and a large peice of carpet or something. I don't think striaght visuals will keep thier attention for such a long time on, for a 3rd grader, is REALLY boring stuff. Come up with a quick game or something phyiscally interactive.
 

Friend of Flavel

Cyburbian
Messages
30
Points
2
Thanks for all the suggestions!! Great information from everyone - hopefully, the kids won't get bored. IMHO, 45 minutes is way too long for a presentation to kids, but I suspect the teachers need a break.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Mike is right about environmental issues. Kids know and appreciate the open space around them better than adults sometimes. You might look at the Green Map Project for ideas. You could easily spend a half hour with the kids doing a charette, asking them what sites are important to them, why they are important, and how they might be protected or improved.

I can relate to your difficulties in having to explain complex ideas to simple-minded people. I get to speak to the legislature on the need for regulatory reform on Trans 233, NR 30 and NR151. Their little minds just don't grasp the subject.
 

Hceux

Cyburbian
Messages
1,028
Points
22
Maybe you could have the individuals to do a hands-on project. Like have them create a map of their neighbourhood, outlining what is there. Just see what they record because whatever they put on their map is likely a good reflection of what these young ones believe is important to their neighbourhood.

It could be an invaluable resource in boosting neighbourhoods. :)

I agree, visuals should be integrated in your presentation, but make sure it's some simple that they understand. Perhaps emphasizing on how planning is about sharing spaces: sharing playgrounds with other children is like how other subgroups of any population share a certain space.

Enjoy the young children and the presentation. Be prepare for some innocent questions that might make you laugh out loud or make you realize how difficult it can be answering some questions.
 
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