The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Learning Resources

Chicago: City of Possibilities, Plans, Progress - A Unit Builder for Eighth Grade in English and Spanish

Teacher Preview

Chicago: City of Possibilities, Plans, Progress provides materials that offer a starting point to making the city itself part of your curriculum. As your students explore their city we hope that they will understand their own ability to change their communities and make a different in shaping Chicago's future. We encourage you to take full advantage of Chicago's museums, libraries and education organizations, as well as extensive on-line resources as part of the learning experience. And finally, we hope that the Centennial's primary goal -- to make our region one of the world's best places to live and work -- will enrich and inform your teaching well into the future. 

Click HERE to download the unit builder in its entirety, or see below for individual chapters.

The developmentof this unit was mad e possible by thegenerous support of the Steans Family Foundation.


Table of Contents

Chicago: City of Possiblities, Plans and Progress is organized in five parts. Each part includes several activities. You can choose the activities that fit your students' learning priorities. The learning guides are open-ended, so students can discuss ideas with other students and their families. The student learning guides are organized with directions so that they can be used independently, with small groups, in pairs or using a think-pair-share or jigsaw approach. To download the etnire unit, click here.  To download indivual parts click on titles below.

  1. Chicago: A History of Choices and Changes. Students examine Chicago challenges during the early 1900s. Students read about the Burnham Plan and identify the problems he addressed and the solutions he proposed that still shape the city today.
  2. Your Community Today. Students identify assests in their community and analyze progress it has made. It includes an activity in which students interview a person who has been involved in community progress.
  3. Plan for Community Progress. Students analyze community changes with an emphasis on collaboration. While part 2 emphasized ideas -- visionaries and heroes -- this part emphasizes the importance of working together to make progress.
  4. The City Today. Students examine Burnham's vision as it addressed city-wide systems that are part of the infrastructure and make their own recommendations for improvements today.
  5. Bold Plans. Big Dreams. Students relate the big plans to their own visions for Chicago -- and for themselves. It is a culmination of learning about the plans and progress of Chicago, as students make their own plans for the city and for themselves.

Online Exhibits

The Plan of Chicago:
A Regional Legacy

Learn about the Plan—the conditions that prompted it, the major recommendations, its implementation and its legacy in this highly illustrated booklet available for download or on-line viewing.

Feature Resources

The Plan of ChicagoThe Plan of Chicago

The online Encyclopedia of Chicago has a wealth of information including a fully digitized copy of the Burnham Plan.

Cloumbian Exposition

The Columbian Exposition

Explore Daniel Burnham’s vision of an ideal city with an interactive map of the World’s Fair of 1893.

Metro joeWho is Metro Joe?

Think you know Chicago and the 'burbs?  Play this online game that challenges your knowledge of the Chicago region.

Educational Programs

In and After School (K–16)

Schools and universities throughout the region are developing events and projects during the Burnham Plan Centennial.

Presenting Sponsor for Education

The Burnham Plan Centennial
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