Grade 6/7

Designing Cities of the Future with Resilient Power Grids


Core Competency Questions:

      • How can I design a city of the future whose power grid is resilient to a natural disaster
      • How can I examine evidence about energy use and connect my learnings to my future city?
      • How can I confidently present my understanding and analysis to an authentic audience?

The Context:

Through the lens of Engineering, students in grade six and seven designed a future city with a power grid resilient against a natural disaster.  After initially learning about the role engineers play in our cities, the students then explored urban design. Classroom lessons, guest speakers, field trips and SIM City all contributed to their understanding. Working in groups of three or four, students collaborated to create a city plan that was designed around ideas of futuristic energy sources and transmission. Using primarily recycled materials, they created a model of a portion of their city with a resilient power grid.  Each group synthesized their learning in a five minute presentation. Top groups were able to present to a panel of judges and participate in a district showcase and competition.


“We are very excited to be working on a project that has so many cross-curricular opportunities.  The topic is so rich that we must carefully chose the lessons and activities to nurture student understanding and guide their learning. “ – Tricia Yurkowski

Student Reflections

“I used communication during the model part of future cities because my group constantly communicated with each other on making buildings and what types.” – Kobe

“In our future city project, our group shared our own individual ideas for the natural disaster. We had a challenging time because all our ideas were different. We still listened carefully to each other’s ideas even though each one of us desperately want to do their idea.” – Joanna

“I think in the process of writing the Future City information report I mostly concentrated on showing leadership during group work to accomplish a task and I offered different ideas to help solve problems.” – Amitis

Curricular Competencies

  • Science 7 – Electricity is generated in different ways with different environmental impacts
  • Career Education 6 and 7  – Local and global needs and opportunities for sustainability and effective use of resources
  • Grade 6 Social Studies – Urbanization and migration of people (land usage, access to water, pollution and waste management, population density, transit and transportation)
  • Language Arts 6 and 7  – Writing processes (essay writing) and presentation techniques

ADST connections

  • ADST 6 and 7 – Uses design thinking to identify and use appropriate tools, technologies, and materials for production
  • ADST 6 and 7 – Understands power technology, different forms of energy and devices that transform energy

Key Questions

What role do Engineers and City Planners play your city?
How will our cities be powered in the future?
How can we demonstrate understanding of a resilient power grid?
How can we communicate our ideas to an authentic audience?