I created this activity as part of an engineering summer camp curriculum for middle school students. It’s a short activity that can be completed in 2 hours. This lesson plan could easily be modified for just about any age group.The students loved this activity. They found the videos fascinating and liked considering the possibility of what could have been.
If you have any great tips or anything to add that would make this lesson plan better, please feel free to comment below. The best lesson plans come from sharing and collaborating with others!
Overview & Purpose
To teach students how to use critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork skills while creating their own community of tomorrow.
- Students will use critical thinking to create a community of tomorrow.
- Students will collaborate with their team.
- Students will share their city plans with the class.
- Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacherled) with diverse partners on topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- b. Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
- c. Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
- 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.
- Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
- Roll of a dark colored bulletin board paper (black paper works well)
- Several boxes of chalk
- Scrap paper and pencils
- EPCOT Videos and Articles (see “Resources” below)
- Students will create and present their own community of tomorrow city plans that show a progressive and well thought out look at daily life in the future.
- Teachers may prepare topic questions appropriate for the age group before beginning this lesson (see “Resources” below).
- Ask students what their dream city in the future would look like.
- Give a brief introduction to Walt Disney and his dream to build the perfect city.
- Watch the full length video of Disney’s EPCOT presentation and the “Would EPCOT Have Worked?” video.
- Ask the students to think about the following questions:
- Would EPCOT have been a successful community?
- What do you believe would have been the best part about living in EPCOT?
- What would be the worst part?
- Do you see any flaws in Walt’s design that could have caused problems?
- How would you fix these flaws?
- Imagineer, Marty Sklar, said about Walt’s vision of EPCOT, “There’s a gigantic difference between the spark of a brilliant idea and the daily operation of an idea.” What do you think he meant by this?
- Tell students that they will have the opportunity to create their own futuristic city.
- Divide students into groups of four.
- Outline some questions they should be asking themselves while they plan their city (see examples below). Ask them if they can think of any other questions that are important while creating a city.
- Who will live in your city?
- What will make your city different and innovative from cities today?
- What kind of transportation will your city utilize?
- What will institutions like schools be like in your city?
- What types of public spaces will your city have?
- What is your city’s name? Make sure it reflects what makes your city unique.
- Inform the students that they will now create their own map of their community of tomorrow using the bulletin board paper and chalk.
- Students should brainstorm with their group and draw some rough drafts on scrap paper before you hand out the bulletin board paper and chalk.
- Once completed, groups will give a presentation (like Walt’s EPCOT presentation) to the class.
- Walt Disney’s Original Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=sLCHg9mUBag&feature=emb_title
- Would EPCOT Have Worked? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWgKEI7Tfa8
- Inside Walt Disney’s Ambitious, Failed Plan to Build the City of Tomorrow https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/news/a35104/walt-disney-epcot-history-city-of-tomorrow/
- Walt Disney’s Original Plans for EPCOT https://www.businessinsider.com/walt-disneys-original-plan-for-epcot-2012-6