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New Towns Project

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

I loved this cross-curricular project and so did the children. It was a brilliant geography-biased topic following our history-biased WW2 focus.

The basis of it, that we dipped in and out of, was the Plan Bee - Rebuilding Britain unit. We focused on lesson 7 of that before examining Prince Charles' new towns: Nansledan and Poundbury (see you tube for videos on these) Alongside this we looked at Sustainability and the SDGs as well as Money in terms of jobs and incomes and household expenditure.

After considering what features a town should have and could have from an ecological point of view, the children planned their own towns and also used atlases to decide where in the UK would be the best place to build it.

They then went on to design their own eco house following a budget. They looked at architectural drawings before drawing their floor plans to scale with both front, rear and side elevations. We used 1cm:50cm.

From there they went on to physically build their houses from wood and cardboard and various other materials for the cladding, solar panels and living roofs.

Here I must say I cannot take any credit for this part of the unit at all, as my colleague, who is far better at Art and DT than I am and is a geography specialist took both classes and I take my hat off to her - not easy! I was the follower and helper.....especially when we had to do a DIY SOS Big Build towards the end of term....never enough time!

I'm sure I don't need to point out how much Maths is involved in this - the measuring was tricky at times and they had to work hard to make sure that their house mirrored their plans. We had quite a few cuttings the wrong way round for example as they imagined how it would look (reflection, visualisation) but it's great - all part of learning process.

So, in terms of Literacy and Computing - this is where I come in.

I chose the new book 'Where the World Turns Wild' by Nicola Penfold as our class reader, which is an absolutely fantastic novel. Our Year 6 loved it and Nicola kindly enough did a Zoom call with them all after we'd finished.

It's a dystopian story with themes on sustainability, the environment, re-wilding and basically takes a look at what life would be like if we had to shut ourselves off from nature and then what happens when two children 'go wild'.

We did work around this novel and had so much great discussion from it.

We studied Estate Agent Speak - See other blog on that specifically to see what we did, but the children end up selling their own homes in this patter.

House songs and lyrics - we looked at Our House (Madness), Homeward Bound (Simon and Garfunkel) and Home (Michael Buble) before attempting to change the lyrics to the verse of Our House to reflect what went on in our own homes - very difficult to do but fun and amusing!

We made Padlets for our Mood Boards as to what features we might include in our new town...

We used Tinkercad - a 3D design program to build floors, rooms and town squares etc.....

I then discovered Minecraft for Education during the process and went with the idea of building class eco towns as a collaborative venture with each class. I'll do a separate more detailed blog on this later, as we got SO much out of it, but here's a snap shot of what they built in Minecraft - we used the scale 1 Minecraft block = 50cm to match what they'd done in their design books and the house they actually built, 1cm: 50cm/2cm:1m so in Minecraft we had 2 blocks: 1m. This was mostly stuck to, but as they got more build happy not so much. I would try to be more strict on this next time, but as a town at least it looks in proportion and that's what I wanted. I think Minecraft is 1m = 1 block but if we'd have done that they'd have been no room to build inside.

All in all this was a really great topic and one I thought I'd share in case others fancied giving it a go next year. If you need any more detailed info, give me a shout.

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