What Are The Benefits of Parks In A Community?

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SWBAT interpret information presented by a community park director to understand the benefits of parks.

Big Idea

Bring in a community member. Pose a question. Use available resources. Build a problem-based learning experience.

A Letter From The Park District

5 minutes

What are the benefits of parks in a community?

When students engage in a problem-based learning experience they:

  • engage in inquiry
  • learn to answer a challenging, real-world question
  • share products they have made or information learned with an audience
  • require a high level of thinking and reasoning


Problem-based learning begins with an essential question which focuses student thinking and does not have one right answer. It is active learning.

I pose this essential question to the class, hand out the Letter From The Park District, and explain this problem-based learning experience. I want to create a memorable, but brief introduction to the experience so as I discuss this letter and set the scene. I bring in a community member to make this experience real-world as I collaborate with the Superintendent of Parks and Planning in the local community. It makes the experience authentic. 

Presentation From A Community Member

30 minutes

An important skill for students to practice is (CCSS) Speaking and Listening (SL.6.2) where students interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (visually, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic under study.

I bring in a community member to:

  • provide a connection
  • create a real-world application
  • develop student listening skills


Bringing in the Superintendent of Parks and Planning from the local park district also creates a connection between the school and community. It develops a network and strong working relationship between students, parents, and families in the area.

Talking points for the presenter include: 

  • Career - Position, Role, Education, Experience
  • Types of Parks - active vs. passive parks
  • Site Map of the pond- purpose of a map, how to use a compass rose
  • Indicators at the Pond - non point source pollutants (NPSP), frogs as indicators
  • A Professional Presentation - What does it look like to make a presentation to a park board?


I provide a Map of the Pond where students can take notes and visualize the area. As the speaker makes his presentation, I encourage students to write on the map, create a compass rose, and take notes.

Questions For The Presenter

5 minutes

After listening to the presentation, students need time to process their thoughts. I give them 2 minutes to write questions for the presenter and identify what they learned. After I collect the questions and comments, I give 2 minutes to the presenter to anonymously address student questions and concerns.