Designing a Park Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to explore public parks from an academic and design-oriented standpoint before applying their observations to their own park design.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Appreciate the diverse functions of a public park
  • Critically engage other students in the functions and elements of park design
  • Apply personal observations and group discussion to an individual design

Length

45-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2.A

Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2.B

Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Materials

  • Paper and writing utensil
  • Access to a public park or the Internet

Instructions

  • Ask students to think about the public parks they have been to. Discuss the following:
    • What is the purpose of a public park?
    • What sort of things do we expect to find in a park?
    • What is the relationship between things in a park?

Field Trip

  • Take the class to a local, public park.
    • If this is not realistic, you can modify this section of the lesson by giving students time to research famous parks on the Internet
  • Ask students to bring a writing utensil and paper, and walk around the park independently reflecting on the following. Encourage them to make rough sketches of the park as they explore it.
    • What sort of things do you see in this park?
    • What is the relationship between things in this park?
    • How is space distributed in this park?
    • How much of the park is natural? How much is curated? How much is artificial?
    • How are people using various spaces in this park?
  • Come back together as a class. Discuss students' impressions of the park.
    • What did you observe?
    • How did the designers of this park use space in different ways?
    • How are people using this park?
    • How does the design of this park influence the ways that people interact?
    • Did your observations change the way you think about parks, and did anything in your observation surprise you?

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