Youth Voice Project


This project gives students the opportunity to apply what they have learned to the creation of their own neighborhood improvement idea.  As introduced in the “Youth Voice Project Introduction,” the process will mimic that of participatory budgeting, and culminate in a class vote.

Download the entire Youth Voice Project Lesson Plan

Core Question

How does the shape that we give to our city, in turn, shape us?
Supporting Question: How can I be an active citizen?

Learning Objectives

I can apply what I have learned about community design to my own interests in order to create an improvement idea for my neighborhood.

Supporting Text

Citizen Planners: Documenting the Process” chapter from The Plan of Nashville: Avenues to a Great City

health focus

If you have been putting a health focus on the activities leading up to the “Youth Voice” project, have students create a neighborhood improvement plan that will impact health.

Vocabulary (Review)

*Definitions can be found in the glossary in the back of the Curriculum Guide.

Participatory budgeting
Urban/community design


Access to an online mapping resource such as “Google Maps”
Youth Voice Project Requirements” (one per student)
Youth Voice Reflection” (one per student)
Youth Voice Brainstorm” (one per student)
Project board (one per student) - this can be a poster, chart paper, or three-fold board
Blank paper

Timing recommendation: 

Launch: 40 min

  • Step 1: 10 min

  • Step 2: Minimum of 3 hrs. The depth of the research for this portion can vary.

  • Step 3: 1 hr

Closing:10 min
Total time: Minimum 4 hrs



  • Review Materials: vocabulary definitions (see glossary in Curriculum Guide) and participatory budgeting video (optional)

  • Hang maps and improvement ideas from “Neighborhood Analysis” activity

  • Handout: “Youth Voice Reflection”

Youth Voice Project:

  • Handouts:

    • “Youth Voice Project Requirements,”

    • “Youth Voice Reflection”

    • “Youth Voice Brainstorm”

  • Project board materials: glue, scissors, paper, markers, posters

  • Internet access for online mapping



  • This launch has students reflect on what they have learned, which will prepare them to apply their knowledge to create their own project.

    • Review some of the key ideas that were introduced during the “Youth Voice Introduction” lesson:

      • Vocabulary: citizen, citizenship, participatory budgeting, urban/community design.

      • It is important to have an informed voice before advocating for something, and they have been informing their voices by learning about community design.

      • They will cre ate neighborhood improvement plans that will then be voted on by their classmates, just like the participatory budgeting process.

    • Revisit student’s work from the “Neighborhood Analysis” activity:

      • To review the neighborhood categories such as walkability and transportation, look at the different maps that students created.

      • Revisit the p ros and cons that they created, and use it as a resources as they create their own ideas.

    • Allow students to reflect on what they have learned by filling out the “Youth Voice Reflection.” Let students share out for each category to help the whole class review.


Create an improvement idea for your neighborhood that will make it a better place for youth. 

  • Step 1: Brainstorm - Have students fill out the “Youth Voice Brainstorm” to help them think about an improvement plan. Remind them to use the improvement ideas revisited during the launch if they need some inspiration.

  • Step 2: Develop Project - Go over the “Youth Voice Project Requirements” document, and allow them to begin developing the requirements of their project. The extent of the project requirements and support can depend on what is appropriate for your grade level and content. A recommended method for younger grades is to build their improvement idea with play-doh on their laminated neighborhood maps from the “Neighborhood Analysis” activity.

  • Step 3: Presentations and Voting - Allow each group to present their project proposals to the class, and have a class vote.


Discussion/reflection questions:

  1. Not all citizen’s improvement ideas can be sent to the mayor and immediately be funded. What were some ways that you explored in the “Community Advocate Scavenger Hunt” for citizens to advocate for change in their communities?

  2. What are two ways that you can advocate for your improvement idea?