Shape Our City

Pupils learn how to 'shape a city' by making informed decisions.

Years: 5, 6

Duration: 60mins

Curriculum Objectives: 4

Subject: Art

Resource Overview

Cities shape our health and well being and people’s decision-making shapes cities. These resources form part of a wider Shape Our City project that sought to understand what decisions the public can make to effect positive change in their areas and what additional support is needed (e.g. from business, government, etc.) to make Bristol a better place to live, work and play. As children are disproportionately impacted by decision-making it is important they be included in the process. And this is why we’ve developed these resources.

This lesson plan allows children to develop their scientific, communication and decision-making skills. After a group discussion, children work in pairs to share their own experiences through a mapping exercise. Based on these experiences, and the evidence presented to them in the form of fact cards, children cast their vote on their priorities for change. Allow time for discussion about ideas to tackle issues in the area, as this is perhaps the richest part of the lesson.

These resources are intended to plant a seed of change in children, allowing teachers to work with them to take forward ideas they may have for taking action in their local communities to make them healthier, safer and happier places to live.

While written for schools in Bristol, this can be easily adapted for rural areas and other cities.

With thanks to UWE and Wellcome Trust for allowing us to share these resources and with thanks to Andy Council for his illustrations.

Resource Assets


Shape Our City Lesson Plan

Use this lesson to support pupils to learn what they need to include in their maps, and what the inhabitants of their city need to live healthy lives.


Shape Our City fact cards - Resource 1c

Explore the features of a healthy city by considering influences such as transport, access to nature, food and neighbourhood design.


Shape Our City PowerPoint - Resource 1a

Introduce the children to the challenge with this PowerPoint accompanied by notes for teachers.


Shape Our City Challenge - Resource 1b

An example key and overview of the challenge.

Curriculum Objectives

  • Create sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas
  • Name and locate counties/cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features, and land-use patterns; and understand geographical change over time.
  • Describe and understand key aspects of human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water.
  • Use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.