Description: This proposal is organized around the theme of urbanization through the use of 2 works of art by Cyril E. Power and LS Lowry, 20th century English artists of the emerging modern city, three urbanization infographics, and a short video on urbanization and the evolution of cities by Vance Kite on TEDEd. The Visible Thinking routines used are: What Makes You Say That, See-Think-Wonder, and Connect-Extend-Challenge.

Level: Intermediate-Upper Intermediate
Learners: All ages
Theme: Urbanization
Language: Urbanization related vocabulary                                                Skills: Observing and describing, drawing inferences, understanding alternatives and multiple perspectives, speaking, watching a short video, making connections between prior ideas and new knowledge         

Materials: Paintings slides, infographics, a short video

Step 1  

Show students each painting and ask them: What’s going on? What do you see that makes you say that? You can use a tree map to document students’ answers.

Step 2                                                                                                   

Brainstorm students around the common elements in the 2 paintings. Elicit that both of them deal with aspects of urban life. Ask them a) how they think the people in the paintings feel, and b) how they themselves feel by looking at the paintings.

Step 3                                                                                                      

Show your students the infographic below. Have them work in groups and answer the following questions in writing. Then, hold a plenary discussion.

Where were the first cities?
What did the first settlements depend on?
What happened from the 18th to the 20th century?
Where is most of the urbanization taking place?
What are some of the issues related with urbanization?


Step 4                                                                                                                     

Show your students the following image. Ask them what they think it is about. Get answers from the whole class. Tell them that it is a 15” UNICEF infographic of 100 years of urban growth. Follow the link and show the infographic. Have your students name the countries where most of the urbanization is taking place.



Step 5                                                                                                                    

Write the following numbers on the board. Have your students read them aloud, and copy them in their notebooks:

> 1,000,000

Step 6                                                                                                               

Show them the infographic below and ask them how the numbers are related to it. Have them first write sentences in pairs. Allow 10 minutes and get feedback.


Step 7

Show students the photograph below and ask: What do you see?
What do you think about it?
What does it make you wonder?3cb63-fantasy_future_megacity_017466_

Step 8
Write on the board: How can future cities adapt to growing populations? Brainstorm students around this question.

Step 9
Tell students they are going to watch a short video on the past and future evolution of cities. Ask them to focus on the suggestions put forward regarding the ways cities might adapt to growing populations. Show the video (this part starts at 3:00). If needed show for a second time.

Suggestions: adequate food/sanitation/education/sustainable growth/environment protection/food production might move to vertical farms, skyscrapers, roof top gardens/power from multiple sources of renewable energy/vertical residencies instead of single family homes/self-contained buildings/smaller self sufficient cities focused on local and sustainable production

There is also a subtitled version of the video you might consider showing: http://amara.org/el/videos/M4QLlAorzKHp/info/urbanization-and-the-future-of-cities-vance-kite/?tab=video

Step 10                                                                                                         

Organize your students in groups. Ask them to review all the ideas and information explored concerning the theme of urbanization. Then ask them to think about these questions:

How are the ideas and information connected to yourselves?
What new ideas did you get that extended or pushed your thinking in new directions?
What is still challenging for you? What questions, puzzles or wonderings do you now have?

Have groups share their thoughts in writing first. Then hold a plenary discussion. Keep a visible record of students’ ideas.

I hope you find this proposal worth experimenting with.

3 thoughts on “Urbanization”

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