Design as a Tool for Community Action
By Bruce Miller, July 3, 2008
- Middle School
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Lesson 1 Introduces students to the evolution of Winsted, Connecticut throughout its history. An historical foundation will help students to understand the importance that Winsted has played in Connecticut's past. An historiography of the community will work to promote pride in the foundation of this community and a perspective to view where it is going in the twenty-first century. The goals of this lesson are to have students confront the impressions that they had come into the program with and to leave with a deeper appreciation of the community and its past.
- Lesson 2 The first step of the design process is developing an understanding of the needs of your client. In this lesson students will be asked to tour the Main Street area of Winsted, Connecticut. Working in teams students will record the attributes and liabilities that they observe on their tour. Students will return and organize their information to present their impressions of how the targeted area impacts the attitudes toward the community.
- Lesson 3 Research as a Function of Design. Students will identify the importance of acknowledging a client’s needs. Students have conducted a preliminary assessment of the problem. Students will now review a survey that was conducted by the community that helps to evaluate the needs of Winsted. Focusing on information that includes demographics, geographic layout, and commercial viability students will observe how professional community planners use this information to draw conclusions about community needs and strategies.
- Lesson 4 Creative Problem Solving. Creative problem solving is a process that allows students to generate multiple ideas associated with a particular scenario. In this unit the scenario centers around developing a plan to make improvements to the Winsted Main Street area to elicit greater, more positive interest by residents of surrounding communities. In this lesson students will learn the ground rules of brainstorming as they apply it to identifying a problem and creating a solution. This process is adopted from the Future Problem Solving Program.
- Lesson 5 Once a plan to solve the problem has been identified students will work to actualize the solution. Working in their teams they will create a prototype of their plan, roughly sketching, or creating models of what they plan to do. A specific plan of construction will be created in accordance with the solution statement acknowledging what the solution is, how the solution will work, where the solution will be employed, who will employ the solution, and how long it will take for the solution to work. Students will be given butcher paper and markers.
- Lesson 6 Critical Evaluation. Students will learn the importance that constructive criticism plays in the development of any design. To show the value of compromise and flexibility students will present their ideas to the group and to experts of various fields who will evaluate the feasibility of their ideas. Students will use the recommendations to alter aspects of their idea. Students will construct a final model to present.
- Lesson 7Persuasive Speaking. Students will learn the art of persuasive speaking. In the presenting of any idea to either a business or human service organization there is an expectation that the presentation meet certain conventions. Students will write a persuasive speech in accordance with prescribed guidelines.
- Lesson 8 Selling an Idea. Students will promote their idea to an audience comprised of invited guests. Students will work to gain support for their ideas while employing the lessons presented throughout the unit.
- Lesson 9Community Action. Students will be introduced to members of the community whose efforts have brought about positive change. Students will hear the stories that had inspired each of these individuals to get involved.
Common Core State Standards
English Language Arts Standards: History/Social Studies
Key Ideas and Details:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.3 Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
Craft and Structure:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.5 Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.8 Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.9 Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.10 By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
English Language Arts Standards: Reading Informational Text
Key Ideas and Details:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.2 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.5 Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.7 Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium's portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.8 Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-7.9 Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
English Language Arts Standards Writing
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.A Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories as appropriate to achieving purpose; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.B Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.C Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.D Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.
Production and Distribution of Writing:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
English Language Arts Standards: Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.3 Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)
- Students will be able to evaluate how impressions change as one becomes more informed.
- Students will be able to articulate the historical changes Winsted has been through.
- Students will be able to articulate step one of the design process.
- Student teams, using video cameras will record their first impressions of the area.
- Students will draw conclusions about how both a community’s attributes and detractions impact the impressions of people that view them.
- Students will present their findings to the group.
- Using the document entitled “Foothills of the Berkshires,” prepared by Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, have students read each section and identify factors that have contributed to the conclusions cited in the document.
- Students will list the factors that they believe are most important in understanding the needs of the community.
- Students teams will identify a problem that they will choose to work on.
- Students will follow the guidelines associated with brainstorming. These being: to concentrate on generating many ideas; no criticism; freewheeling; piggy-backing encouraged; do not elaborate.
- Students will follow a model to construct a problem statement.
- Students will brainstorm multiple solutions to the challenge that they elect to work on.
- Students will select a solution from their list by evaluating how each solution meets the needs that are stated in the problem statement.
- Students will create an action plan that is based on the solution that they have selected and the parameters that have been identified.
- Students will articulate what the solution is, how the solution will work, where the solution will be employed, who will employ the solution, and how long it will take for the solution to work.
- Students will create a first draft rendering that promotes the design that they are trying to create.
- Students will consult with experts in a variety of fields to provide them with advice from other points of view.
- Students will construct a final model of their solution to be presented before members of the community, town planners and officials.
- Using a formula for persuasive speaking students will prepare a formal presentation of their idea.
- Students will work persuade the audience of the feasibility of their idea.
- Students will employ the elements of persuasive speaking.
- Students will recognize the reasons that inspired various members of the community to come forth and work for change.
- Students will realize the positive changes that have been made in Winsted as a result of the voluntarism of a number of civic minded individuals.
- Students will set up personal goals to get involved.
- video cameras
- tour sheet
- color printer
- A/V equipment
- flip charts
- digital cameras
- town planner
- advertising representative
- speakers from Friends of Winsted
- Foothills of the Berkshires; Market Niche Strategy for Winsted https://www.townofwinchester.org/Plugs/directions.aspx
- narrative history
- Future Problem Solving Program https://www.fpspi.org/
- example of persuasive speaking lesson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjbKmHd9IWI
- butcher paper
- poster paper
- glue stick
- pipe cleaners
- Styrofoam baseboard
- glue guns
- color gels
- modeling paint
- mill town: also known as factory town or mill village, is typically a settlement that developed around one or more mills or factories
- brownfield: an abandoned, vacant, derelict, or underutilized commercial or industrial property where past actions have resulted in actual or perceived contamination and where there is an active potential for redevelopment
- Environmental Protection Agency: governmental agency responsible for the enforcement of environmental laws
- abatement: a reduction or decrease
- infrastructure: the public facilities and services needed to support residential development, including highways, bridges, schools, and sewer and water systems
- tax base: the pool of property, value or income from which a government may draw assessments
- design: plan something for a specific role or purpose or effect; make a design of; plan out in systematic, often graphic form
- context: the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation or event
- attribute: a characteristic or quality of a thing, often positive
- detraction: something that takes away from the value or reputation of
- demographics: the study of, or information about, people's lifestyles, habits, population movements, spending, age, social grade, employment, etc.
- geographic layout: the way a community, building, or area is spacially planned
- commercial viability: determining whether a product or idea is sellable
- market niche: a specialized portion of a market
- key verb phrase: one key verb in a phrase connected with only one object, that mandates what will be done to solve the underlying problem
- parameters: measurable characteristics or features; any of a set of physical properties whose values determine the characteristics or behavior of something
- piggybacking: to set up or cause to function in conjunction with something larger, more important, or already in existence or operation
- persuasive speaking: making listeners feel a certain way about an idea or a product, convincing them to agree with an opinion, or encouraging an action or a response
- audience: a gathering of spectators or listeners, usually at a public performance
- volunteerism: the willingness of people to work on behalf of others without the expectation of pay or other tangible gain
- civic action: non-violent action conducted for political purposes
- based on the ideas from the underlying problem
- can be applied to nearly every solution (i.e., cost, aesthetics, etc.)
- Students will be given a journal to record major learnings throughout the unit.
- Students will record in their journals their personal impression of the community of Winsted and to support their point of view with specific reasons.
- Pursuant to the presentation provided by the Winsted Historical Society students will identify specific historic events that either lead them to change their opinions, or helped to reinforce their opinions by recording them in their journal.
- In their journals students will describe what they believe might be the overall problem confronting Winsted's Main Street.
- Accurate completion of a list of sub problems/challenges.
- Completion of a problem statement that conforms to the model prescribed.
- Completion of the first draft will be assessed in accordance with each of the parameters that they are addressing in their problem statement.
- Journal reflection. Students will record private plausibility thoughts in their journal. Often, group members will not surrender thoughts or doubts to spare the feelings of their peers. Here is an opportunity to have the students articulate any doubts that they may have regarding their idea. Follow this up with a prompt asking students how might they overcome this obstacle.
- Completed model describing their solution.
- Students will record in their journal the ease of difficulty that they had convincing their group of their contribution to the presentation.
- Final presentation will be assessed with rubric that the students were given. ( https://www.greece.k12.ny.us/instruction/ela/6-12/Rubrics/Index.htm) A final journal reflection will be recorded and student evaluation of the academy will be requested.
- Students will record in their journals final reactions to the academy and thoughts about how to integrate themselves in a civic movement dedicated to bringing about change.
Enrichment Extension Activities
- Students can research the history of various buildings on Main Street, Winsted, Connecticut.
- Students can begin to gather information regarding the efforts of other communities that have reclaimed blighted buildings in an attempt to improve the town facade.