Use the Activities
Putting It All Together
The following activities engage students in a number of ways that let them discover how landscape artists and park planners relate to the environment around them.
Activity 1: Plan Your Own Park
In preparation for this activity you will want to get not only a current street map of your area but also copies or scans of historical maps (from a local historical society), topographical maps, and zoning maps (from the city/county planning commission or survey office).
1. Ask students to look at the maps, comparing and contrasting the type of information each map contains.
2. Direct students to locate existing parks and or park system sites on the maps.
3. Divide students into groups of 4 or 5 and have them pretend that they represent a landscape architecture firm. Ask them to discuss possible locations and designs for a park, park system, or greenway, taking into account topography, developed areas, and zoning restrictions on their maps. Each group should select a final location and list in a written plan details about design elements, recreational features, and descriptive elements.
4. Ask each group to present their proposal to the Parks Commission (the whole class) tracing out on the map where they have located their park, presenting its features, and making an argument for why their design should be implemented. When all the presentations are complete, ask the class, acting as the Parks Commission, to vote on which plan they will adopt.
Activity 2: Parks Brochure
1. Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5 students who will form design teams to create a park brochure.
2. Each team will be asked to create its own brochure, either of the park designed in Activity 1 or of a local park or park system, dividing work so that each student works on one or two parks or focuses on a specific aspect of the park (such as scenic features, environmental benefits, recreational opportunities).
3. Team members should integrate their work into a final brochure. Students may create the brochure with drawings, clippings from existing pamphlets, photographs, or by integrating digital images. The brochure may be handmade or computer generated.
4. Display brochures on bulletin board or send to local parks commission.
Activity 3: Landscape Fun
1. Invite a local landscape architect to speak to the class and show students some before and after images of projects the students will recognize from their area.
2. Ask students to work within a $50 budget to beautify the school by the addition of some landscape element. The design may be done by hand or with a computer landscape-design program. Determine if the PTA, student government, a club, or the school administration is able to fund a small landscape project and if the designer(s) is willing to arrange for volunteer labor to carry out the project. If so, have a contest to determine which is the best design and install the winning project on the school's property.