-Design & Build

Students should have watched all the videos before watching this video, including Invite, Waste, Energy, Water, Transportation & Food. We encourage you to schedule multiple sessions to give students time to design & build their Community of the Future. Students will need time to share their ideas in their group, come up with a plan, decide who does what, build their project, and then share it. At minimum 1 planning and 2 building sessions are recommended. Note: You can take hours, days, or weeks to complete this project – it’s up to you!


Design steps

  • HAND OUT – Hand out student booklets
  • WATCH – Cue up the video below and watch it with the class
  • DESIGN – Have students work in their groups & share their ideas
  • DEFINE – Define building materials and the max size allowed
  • GATHER – Discuss where to collect materials (reused paper and cardboard recommended)
  • COLLECT – Collect booklets till the next session




Building steps

  • PLAN – Plan how much time students have to build and when it is due
  • GUIDELINE – Do you want students to share their designs with you before building?
  • FIND – Find an area for projects to be stored
  • SUPPLIES – Provide glue for construction
  • HAND OUT – Hand out student booklets
  • CHECK-IN – Tour student projects as they work on their Community of the Future
  • QUESTION – When touring projects ask – Does your project address all 5 areas? Would you want to live there? Are there connections between the 5 areas eg. water and food?
  • COLLECT – Collect booklets till the next session


Sharing steps

  • DECIDE – Decide who will be the audience – other groups? other classes? parents? 
  • DEFINE – Inform students on how their group will present their project
  • SHARE – Have students give a tour of their community
  • EXTEND – Consider adding one of the extension buffet activities


Extension Buffet

  • WRITING – Have students write about a day in the life of their future community
  • SHARE – Encourage students to take their planning booklet home and share it with their parents
  • VOTE – Host a student vote for the community they would like to live in
  • FEEDBACK – Have students share feedback on other projects
  • PRESENT– Have student put their projects on display as part of your community or school’s Earth Day event
  • RECORD – Have students make a video tour of their Community of the Future to share with others

10 responses to “-Design & Build

  1. My students created posters in their groups of their communities. They loved this step of the project! The posters were well done and included many features that they discussed, designed and created to meet the guidelines of the activity. Having some examples in the lesson to show students would be helpful so they have an idea of what they could do. If I was to do this activity again, I would love to have students build a model. We did not have enough time for that this time.

  2. All the suggestions and ideas on how to build a city of the future were great. I choose to use Minecraft for Education to build our worlds. Using the River Binome, students were able to search for areas that would allow their city to thrive and be sustainable. Looking for access to water (rivers and lakes) while aiming to limit their impact on the environment. With no limits on creativity, and creating no waste at the end, it was a great project that was extremely well received. All the lessons and information provided for in the booklets provided a great foundation to work from. To help in the build process, students got to see the sustainable worlds being developed by our grade 8 class at Kootenay River Secondary School. It was great for students to see examples of builds from older students. Minecraft for Education has a six-lesson unit on Sustainable Cities and provides students with great ideas on how to incorporate many of the ideas discussed in the program. Within these Minecraft Cities, students can provide descriptive feedback outlining their learning within the program, thus taking the learning further from simply developing the city, but being able to explain their thinking. We have two classes working on the same project and will share our learning with each. Lastly, students will have an opportunity to share their learning with their parents at our learning fair in the spring.

  3. I haven’t gotten to this step yet, as we have just begun the program. However, I was wondering if anyone has a rubric for the finished project that they would like to share. If so, could you please email it to our office at Isabella Dicken, care of Jen? (I probably shouldn’t put my email address here).
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Jenn ~ In the final version of these resources we will include a rubric. Sorry to say we don’t have one available currently. If anyone creates one we would LOVE to see it!

  4. We spent a few weeks working on the build, and incorporating some of the ideas, discussion points and extensions as we went. The students (in small groups of 3) first did a rough 2D map then added 3D effects when section ideas were a bit more finalized. They weren’t wasting time on doing something just to change it. It encouraged change and additions to their thinking, their engineering, and their cities.

    Students were very eager to present their unique ideas in their city. Students were working on many more skills and core competencies as the project unfolded.

  5. Today I allowed the students time to do any extra research they need to begin the actual construction of their projects. We are building desk-top models out of cardboard/lego/toys etc. that they have from home.

    I suggested the following three topics for computer research: new technologies they are still wondering about, sustainable cities that exist already, or ideas about how to make a model out of cardboard supplies. We will be starting next week and will have a couple of weeks to construct the models.

    Helpful things to include in this section would be:
    – photos of completed projects (teachers call these exemplars and they are essential for students to understand what we are hoping they will do.)
    – a rubric for the project (perhaps a couple including one each for models, posters, minecraft model etc.)

  6. I agree with the above comments and feedback. I would like to see examples of completed projects (maybe we all should share pictures of ours for future teachers). I would also like to see a simple rubric that can be used to assess each community.

    Our students have really enjoyed working on their communities of the future projects. We will be showcasing our communities to our families on June 5th.

    For the style of project we are doing-students have been given large poster papers to do their communities on. Each group will be responsible for explaining how each of the components have been met (waste, energy, water, transportation and food). We chose this method as we want to limit the amount of “materials” needed.

  7. Students were BEYOND excited to begin designing their communities after all of the mini lessons. They knew that they would be building their community design on Minecraft for Education so that naturally built in a very high level of engagement and motivation. We had students design their community map on grid paper. The biggest discussion we had during the design process was about which building materials they planned to use (many of them just wanted to use pretty materials) and then also about how to place the different services in their community for ease of transporting materials. Students worked in groups of various sizes. Some students wanted to work on their own for full control of the design where other students worked in groups of up to 5. It took a while for them to build their designs in Minecraft but the students absolutely loved it and there were so many great conversations about the different aspects of a sustainable community.

  8. Similar to a commenter above, I did not want to create additional waste so my class created their communities using MinecraftEdu. They really enjoy this method and were excited to build their communities and demonstrate their learning using it. Students were given time to plan with a partner and research before building. They then had 5 classes to build their communities before sharing them.

    It was challenging for them to combine all of their ideas from each section of the project and imagine what their project should be. Example projects and a project rubric would be helpful to guide them in their creations.

  9. Students were very excited to get started on their projects, I gave them plenty of time to work with their group to plan their community. The project took a number of lessons to complete. Some students did an excellent job and others lost focus part way through. The project was too big. and I did not put enough parameters in place. I let them use recycled materials and some of the projects ended up rather large and lacking in the specific details we had discussed, I also let them use hot glue guns. What was I thinking! We actually turned this into a positive learning experience when we explored the waste that these tools produce. On reflection, I should have been more specific about the materials they could use and the size of the finished “Community of the Future” model. Next time, I think I would get them to choose one of the themes and build a model to address one area (waste, energy, water, transportation, food). These could then be combined to make a “class” community of the future.
    The students loved this ADST project, and we shared our communities with other classes in the school. I got students to write a short paragraph explaining each part of their community. I thought this might help with accountability when sharing with others.