City Planning Grid
Note: This map can be used for any subject where a grid or individual building spaces are needed.
Introduction: This map was created for use by first graders who were studying city planning and map skills during a Social Studies unit. Students identify important buildings within a city and the people who might work there. They discuss why buildings might be located where they are, and apply that reasoning to designing their own city. Students learn about map grids and how they help us locate items on a map, then use the grid system to create their own map.
Prior to using Minecraft:
Students learn about cities and community workers by reading books, using Google Earth or Maps to view their own neighborhoods and towns, watching videos, and doing research. Students notice how some buildings are clustered together (such as houses, schools, hospitals, and libraries) while other buildings are farther away (such as airports, water treatment facilities, and landfills), then speculate why the city is planned that way.
The class works together to plan their own city, using the principles of city design they identified during their research. Students then choose/are assigned one city building to create for their town. They may also join committees to complete common areas of the town: parks and rec, street crew, city beautification, etc.
Students study different kinds of age-appropriate maps and notice how grids help us use them.
The teacher has several options for planning city layouts, depending on the maturity level of the students:
- Tape a grid to the classroom floor and assign each student one box. Students use legos, KNEX, wooden blocks, or other building materials to design their building and place it in their box.
- Use a paper grid and have students draw out their building designs and place on the grid.
- Go straight to Minecraft
About the Map:
Students will spawn inside a cloud. When they walk to the observation platform on the cloud, they will be able to see the entire grid layout. Each block is the same size and is raised. Our students used the spaces between the blocks to create roads and common areas. (I helped the road crew by using Build Tools to speed up the process)
We used creative mode for this lesson so students had all blocks available, but you could use MinecraftEdu mode and give blocks to players if you do not want full access to all materials.