In Designing a Liveable City - Part 1, students designed a town.
In Designing a Liveable City - Part 2, students completed a self-assessment of their town.
Peer feedback provides an opportunity for students to assess liveability in a practical way, and also allows students to reflect on the feedback of others to make improvement in liveability.
Hints on providing feedback.
It is important to provide some guidance to students on how to provide effective feedback to their peers. If feedback is too harsh or personal it will not have the desired effect on progress.
Provide the students with a brief criteria to base their judgements on, and go through the items listed to ensure the students know what all of the terms mean and the purpose of the task. In this case the criteria is a list of items that contribute to liveability. Students might just make simple suggestions such as "You need to build a high school" or "You need to build a hospital", but hopefully they will provide more detailed responses that indicate more knowledge of course content.
In this lesson there were 6 groups of students, and each group rotated around to comment on the town plans of each other group. They were given "Peer Pointer Postcards" to write their comments on. They then returned to their own town map and had to reflect on the feedback given and consider changes to make to their plan. It is worth asking students to hand in their peer feedback to the teacher so you can check the comments that are made. This can then enable the teacher to ask the student to review any comments that are too personal or not detailed enough.
Hints on receiving feedback
Students who aren't used to peer feedback, may initially become defensive or upset about negative feedback. As the teacher it is important to prepare the students so they are ready and willing to accept ideas from others.
A few tips for students:
In Designing a Liveable City - Part 1, students designed a city.
Once students have planned their city, they need to undertake a self assessment of their work. As a group they can sit and talk about the different aspects of their city and how they have addressed liveability. Provide them with a criteria to refer to. This might also be a good opportunity to provide students with a summary of the content that has been covered in class in relation to liveability, so that they can make connections between the activity they have been undertaking and course content.
The aim of this series of lessons is to allow students to apply their understanding of Liveability to a city design task. Students work in groups of 2-3 to design a small town, as the activity progresses they will reflect on what they have learnt in the Place and Liveability topic and apply it to their town.
Phase 1: Design your town
The first phase of this task involves designing the layout of the town. This will involve the initial road layout, agricultural land uses, some initial commercial land uses, power supply, and water storage. Provide some student choices so that you can provide a few variations in the first round of feedback. Provide students with a base page ( it may or may not have some geographical features on it such as mountains, coastline, rivers, etc). Also provide students with some blank, coloured pieces of paper, or you can copy the templates onto coloured paper - green (agricultural land), blue (water storage), pink (commercial), red (power supply), grey (roads).
This is an opportunity to provide some initial feedback to ensure the students get the basics right. Design the feedback so that it refers to the students as though they are members of the local council. For example, “The roads in your town don’t meet the requirements set out by the state government. You have been asked to resurface and redesign your roads. You need to complete this job before anyone moves into your town.”
Phase 2: Moving in...
In the second phase of the task, students design the residential layout and density of the town. By placing a relatively small limit on the number of dwellings students have to focus on the layout of the town in the initial phases.
Town plan scenarios
Provide students with some scenarios that will allow them to start to think about the liveability of their towns. By this stage some of the groups' conversations will have already addressed aspects of liveability, but they may not have actually considered in much depth. Students are required to write a brief description of how they addressed each scenario.
Phase 3: Enhancing liveability
Students will need to respond to the scenarios above, and should have started to consider some of the additional needs of a community. As a class discuss the content related to liveability that you have already covered in class, and then provide students with time to make changes to their town plan.
Next... refer to Designing a Liveable City - Part 2.
Deputy Principal at a Sydney high school. Coordinating author of the new Geoactive book series.