What’s in the City’s Future?

Author: Rose González

Time: 1 class period
Materials: Students will need the notes they’ve been taking all week, including their homework from ‘Hello Mexico City’.


In this Apply lesson, students will review and evaluate their notes, specifically their responses to the Mexico City homework, with their partner to identify potential problems and solutions regarding air pollution in the city where they live.

Students will be able to:
1. Apply their knowledge of their city’s characteristics and development to analyze future issues it will encounter.
2. Interpret and list those potential issues based on cultural characteristics, economic activities, and physical and human geography.

National Geography Standard
(9) The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on the earth’s surface.
9D. Evaluate the impact of human migration on physical and human systems.

Teacher Background
It would be helpful for the teacher to develop his/her own ideas on the objective in order to help guide the students into this assignment which requires higher order thinking skills.

Related and Resource Websites



Day 1
1. Students return to their partners with all the notes and activities they’ve accumulated over the week.

2. Tell students that this activity will require critical thinking skills and that the assignment will not necessarily have one right or wrong answer, but many possibilities. Ask them to look over their notes from the last week to develop, with their partners, answers to the following questions:

a. Based on your knowledge of the economic activities of your city and the example of Mexico City, what potential issues do you think your city will have to address?
b. Are residents content with their employment opportunities?
c. Do the industries that already exist create any potential problems for its residents?
d. Are there enough jobs for people to remain in the city?
e. Do the jobs that exist create any hazards for its residents such as air pollution?
f. Are the natural resources plentiful or does your city have to deal with future water shortages?
g. Based on the physical features and geography of your city and the example of Mexico City, do you see any future potential issues that relate to water, the climate, and weather patterns?
h. Are any of them related to the cultural, economic or recreational activities people engage in? For example, are there many lakes in your city? Does the use of recreational vehicles create air and/or water pollution?
i. How does the urban population of your city (like that of Mexico City’s) affect any issues your city will have to resolve? For example: Are there so many people that the use of cars creates major traffic jams and air pollution? Will your city have to look at other methods of transportation for so many people to get to work or where they like to entertain themselves?
j. Will birthrate or educational levels impact any future needs your city may have to face? Are the young people in your city educated enough to deal with the economic or heath needs of your city? Will any of these characteristics eventually affect the health of your city and its residents?

3. Once students have answered these questions they should identify and organize their responses into a table including the following categories: cultural, economic, physical and human geography.

Ask students to take a few minutes to discuss their answers with the entire class. The teacher should follow up on some of those ideas to lead the class into the idea that cities and the ways humans interact in them are interrelated, but can also create potential issues they never planned or imagined.

Embedded Assessment
The teacher will evaluate each group’s answers for the day based on depth of thought and analysis. Students’ charts can be assessed.


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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