Urban Development - Final Project

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SWBAT build their own cities using 3D and other composite figures and will find the surface area and volume of select buildings.

Big Idea

students end the year by building cities and working in groups to calculate volumes and surface areas

Do Now

15 minutes

Students enter according to the daily entrance routine. We carry out this routine to the very end of the year. Students will spend the remainder of the year (8 days) building their own cities using 3D shapes and other composite figures. We will spend our final day celebrating and evaluating each of the cities using rubrics. Although most of the next few days will be less structured, each day students will continue to enter silently to complete a Do Now. Most Do Nows were sprints and were used to give away the rest of the prizes in the prize box. Sticking to routines like to the end ensures a more peaceful last week.  Students also benefit by continuing to review important skills they will need in 8th grade. Operations with rational numbers and algebraic expressions continued to be emphasized throughout each day

Introduction to Project

15 minutes

Students receive their packets on the first day. We review the Powerpoint to introduce students to urban development. We go over the definition and then I show them some architecture to help get them thinking about their own cities. I save the last one for the end. Once we get to slide #7, I stop the power point and ask student to get into their groups. This will be the first time they officially decide who will be in their group. I write down the names and then I settle everyone down. I explain that I left this building for the end because it is an incredible feat that has not yet been completed and my personal favorite building. It’s true; when you show excitement for a topic or idea students are more likely to feed off that motivation. The rotating tower in Dubai is currently under construction. When completed, it claims to have apartment units, each having their own independent ability to spin about the center of the building. This means the tower itself will not look different every day.


On the first day groups will not yet be selected. Student will spend their time creating isometric drawings on  paper. Students will plan out their cities starting on the second day, deciding how many buildings they’re going to include and what kind. One of the most amazing aspects of this project has been the students who have showcased their talents in ways I have never seen before. One group of students asked if they could build an entire city with only isometric paper. Their city included over 10 different drawings put together in one massive city. They said their inspiration was also Minecraft

Work Time

40 minutes

Each student will be expected to turn in a final portfolio with their cities. The packet included will ask them to find surface areas and volumes of buildings students put into their cities. Once students are finished filling out their packets they will be able to decorate them and hand them over to display the following year. I use these packets to showcase students work expectations in my class for the following class. Only the best packets are kept, according to teacher judges (myself and the other math and the science teachers at the school).Students will be in 8th grade next year; many love the opportunity of being showcased as 8th grade leaders.

As these pictures will show, the creativity shown by so many students was really amazing. Some students included pools and others included movie scenes from the recently popular, Godzilla.  This latter example was and especially proud moment for me. At my school we make it a direct goal of ours to educate our students about character and to instill in them a growth mindset. All year have been talking about optimism and grit. I’ve told them that optimism is the tool we use to show grit. So, when some of the shapes in one of the boys’ projects got accidentally crushed the day before presentations, one student stated, “it’s ok, let be optimistic. What if we crush all the shapes and make it into a Godzilla city!” I get stressed over academic results at times, but hearing things like this remind me that progress can be seen in many forms. My students definitely grew this year and while they have a long way to go, I have no doubt they’ll endure (MP1). 

Final Presentation Day

60 minutes

On the final day projects will be arranged in the center of the room on tables while all chairs are placed around the perimeter. Students will be welcomed to bring food and drinks to have during class. 

Each student must fill out 3 - 5 rubrics total selecting their an array of different types of projects. They will be urged not to look out for friends projects. This is not a popularity contest but instead a process where they must objectively evaluate 5 distinct projects.