Design Your Neighborhood Curriculum

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I think in school we really enjoy like hands on things. It’s more fun we learned better that way than just like sitting and like doing so maybe have like a more hands on experience.
— Student from Bellevue Middle

7th and 8th grade PBL Units

NCDC has partnered with MNPS teachers, the Cumberland River Compact, and a research team at Vanderbilt University to develop a series of standards-based unit for 7th and 8th grade science, ELA, social studies, math, and visual arts courses. The units can stand alone or be cross-curricular. The 7th grade units focus on transportation issues while the 8th grade units address the need for more affordable housing in Nashville. Participating teachers will receive training, project materials, access to a network of design professionals as classroom volunteers, and a $100 stipend. The impacts of this curriculum are being measured by a research team at Vanderbilt Peabody College, and we will need to administer a 20 minute pre and post survey as a part of the study. Please explore the curriculum samples and sign up if you are interested in participating.


7th Grade: Transportation

Art: Functional art piece that promotes connectivity in the school’s neighborhood.

English: Podcast that advocates for more transportation options in the school’s neighborhood.

Science: Transportation changes to the school’s neighborhood that will lower CO emissions.

Social Studies: Revisions to the map and campaigns of the 2018 Transportation Referendum.

Math: Coming soon!

8th Grade: Affordable Housing

Art: Tiny home designs for MNPS families experiencing homelessness.

English: Podcast that advocates for more affordable housing options in the school’s neighborhood.

Science: Low impact housing development plan for the school’s neighborhood.

Social Studies: Affordable housing recommendations and campaign.

Math: Coming soon!


Student thoughts on dyn curriculum


“I liked that we got to compare it to like real life examples, like we were able to go on to Zillow and be like what? I didn't know this! Our parents normally are the ones who are taking care of all of this, because they're the ones in charge of us. I personally was not allowed to help find the house when we were moving. I was not allowed to even have like a say in it. Like they're like we like this house. We're getting this you don't get a say in this. You're just a kid, you know?”

-Student from Donelson Middle School

“Yeah, I liked having a Socratic Seminar, I like hearing my friends opinions on it. And I think I was for gentrification. I think I was one of the only one who was, but I liked hearing about the other side too. It was just cool. And I, I'm sort of a more of a guy who, I like hearing about, like the numbers, I guess the numbers of like the prices of housing and stuff like that. Yeah. And like the podcasts that talked about it, and like how gentrification would change your neighborhood. And like examples of it. I liked hearing that stuff.”

-Student from Bellevue Middle

“Like you said, it brought up different perspectives and stuff, because no one is the same. Because people got different interests, different jobs, different ways to like pay, different amounts they can pay or they want to pay. Because like not one person is exactly the same.”

-Student from Donelson Middle

Community Design 101

Community Design 101 is a series of hands-on activities that engage student with the basics of neighborhood design. The activities can be stand-alone, or work as a whole unit for an extra curricular program or elective course. Note: This curriculum does not include a stipend as it is not a part of the Vanderbilt research project.

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