Creative Problem Solving and Urban Design

Lesson Activities & Lesson Plans

To begin the Lesson Activity please scroll down. If you are a teacher looking for the associated Lesson Plan, please click below.

Worksheet

Before you answer the questions on this worksheet, watch this interview the following video that describes the "Lynn Lights" project.

MM slash DD slash YYYY
Have you seen any of the murals in Lynn before?
Does studying the murals make you want to go and see them in person?
Do you think having murals in the city makes it special?
Did the mural(s), the symbolism, or the artist’s story make you think about your life and experiences?
If you have any questions or need assistance, email admin@beyond-walls.org

About this project

Our team of in kind and pro-bono partners delivered a community driven need of improving lighting in and around the MBTA commuter rail station and its adjoining underpasses (Downtown Action plan, 2016). The Underpasses of Central Square, Washington Street, and Market Street now have an exciting and visually compelling field of dynamic and color changing full-spectrum lighting that not only delights the eye, but attracts more people to the sites. Thank you so much to all of our partners!

PROJECT PARTNER SNAPSHOT

Funders: Barr Foundation, MassDevelopment Commonwealth Places, Patronicity

Scale: 600 linear feet of Dynamic LED lighting

Locations: Market Street, Washington Street and Central Square Underpasses Lynn, MA

Status: Completed, Summer 2018

Pro-Bono Architectural Design: Parke Macdowell (Payette)

Pro-Bono Lighting Design: Dan Weissman (Lam Partners), Ron Kuszmar and Sean Harding (Port Lighting Systems)

Pro-Bono Electrical Engineering: Mark DeVeau (BALA Engineering)

Volunteer Install Team: Ron Kuszmar and Sean Harding (Port Lighting Systems); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 103 (IBEW, Local 103). Foremen : Scott Ellis and Tim Mackey. Electricians: Rob Mackey, Jacques Stiller, Bill Johnson, Rich Stimpson, Jim Cafferkey, Mark Galloway, Steve Illingworth, Marc Ayala, Cole Maribito, Rob Fournier, Mike Favale, Steve Pereira, Andrew Garner, Justin Griffin, Nick Longo, Vic Slepoy, Bill Carey, Bob Azalay, Sean Toomey, Glen Gowey, Nick Nackley, Kevin Desmond, Dave O’loughlin Jr., Joe Curton, Joe Kelley, Wayne Mounce, Jim Alison, Lewis Gomez, Ed Benham, Mike Trachtenberg, Paul Donlan, Pat Haggerty, Steve Kid, Ed Ferzoco, Jim Keough, Steff Jervey and Al Russo

Lynn Vocational Technical Institute (L.V.T.I.)- Electrical Interns: Cameron Fentress, Jose Zacarias Lopez, Rartha Kou Thach

About this lesson

In this lesson, students will work in groups to identify a problem in their community and design a solution that utilizes a creative lens. By engaging in this lesson, students will learn about urban design and gain an appreciation for both their community and the issues it faces. Students will also grow their problem-solving skills while building civic-action oriented mindsets.

For a more in depth background information on the lesson topics, questions and pointers to help guide class discussions, links to videos to show in class, and lesson worksheets, among other things, download the unit guide below. You can also download an accompany PowerPoint for this lesson below.

Objectives

Students will be able to…

1. Discuss the purpose and importance of urban design 

2. Define and engage in tactical urbanism

2. Identify a problem and design a creative solution

3. Develop public speaking, team work, and problem-solving skills

Standards

Science and Technology

Engineering Design

  • Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution. Include potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (6.MS-ETS1-1)
  • Create visual representations of solutions to a design problem. Accurately interpret and apply scale and proportion to visual representations. (6.MS-ETS1-5(MA))
  • Communicate a design solution to an intended user, including design features and limitations of the solution. (6.MS-ETS1-6(MA))
  • Given a design task, select appropriate materials based on specific properties needed in the construction of a solution. (6.MS-ETS2-2(MA))

English Language Arts

Text Types and Purposes

  • Write narratives to develop experiences or events using effective literary techniques, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured sequences. (W.6.3)

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.6.4)

Comprehension and Collaboration

  • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (SL.6.1)
  • Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study. (SL.6.2)

Knowledge of Language 

  • Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. (L.6.3)

Vocabulary

Urban design

Designed response

Tactical urbanism

Materials

Crayon/colored pencils/markers

Poster board or large sheets of paper

Lesson Procedures

To start this lesson, gauge the classroom on their understanding of environmental issues the world faces today by creating a list on a whiteboard. Afterwards, have students identify and circle the items on the list that directly pertain to nature and natural environments. While learning about and interacting with nature is often seen as the primary way to develop awareness of environmental issues, not much attention is given to urban environments. 

About 80% of all Americans live in cities, and it is estimated that by the year 2030, more than 60% of people around the world will live in urban areas. In other words, the entire world is city-focused. Because concrete and crosswalks are more common in our everyday lives, it is important that when we talk about environmental issues and sustainability, that we keep cities at the forefront of our efforts. 

In this lesson, students will work in groups to identify a problem in their community and design a solution that utilizes a creative lens. By engaging in this lesson, students will gain an appreciation for both their community and the issues it faces. Students will also grow their problem-solving skills while building civic-action oriented mindsets.

For a more in depth background information on the lesson topics, questions and pointers to help guide class discussions, links to videos and PowerPoints to show in class, and lesson worksheets, among other things, read the unit guide

1. Discuss urban design with students. In particular, introduce the topics of tactical urbanism and designed responses.

2. Show and discuss examples of tactical urbanism students. This includes guerrilla gardening, pop-up parks, and pop-up bike and walking lanes.

3. Introduce students to the designed response project called “Lynn Lights” by having them watch this video. Have students fill out the accompanying worksheet as they watch the video.

4. Introduce students to the activity for this lesson. For this activity, students will be acting as an urban designer that specializes in tactical urbanism. Students will work cooperatively in teams to identify an issue they believe their local city or community faces and design a creative solution to the problem. They will create a project proposal and then present the proposal to the class. 

For this activity, you can find the project guidelines, project proposal worksheet, and lesson worksheet in the unit guide

Assessment

If you follow the unit guide, assessment is conducted regularly throughout the lesson in the form of group discussions and activities.

For alternatives, go to the resources section of the unit guide. This will take you to a document with a comprehensive list of assessment options. Though they are geared more towards Visual Arts, they can be altered or used for other curriculums, such as ELA and Science/Technology.

Exit slips are also a great strategy for assessment at the end of a lesson. For these slips, have students respond to the following questions:

Write one thing you learned today.
Write one question you have about today’s lesson.
Did you enjoy the lesson activities?