The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Learning Resources

Chicago: Choices and Changes - A Unit for Third Grade in English and Spanish

Teacher Preview

Chicago: Choices and Changes is first and foremost a literacy-building unit that will help your students meet ILSB literacy goals for the third grade. However, it will also help your students build content-area knowledge about the City of Chicago and encourage them to think about the city as a place of challenges, changes and choices. It includes historical narratives about the lives of Jean Baptise Pointe du Sable, Daniel Burnham and Jane Addams, and about Pilsen's development as a vibrant Chicago neighborhood. The unit emphasizes that plans, particularly Burnham's, led to the City as we know it today. It includes a local community-improvement project designed to involve students directly in making choices and changes.

Table of Contents

Chicago: Choices and Changes contains five lessons. Each lesson is divided into activities for five class sessions. The lessons include activities for classroom teachers and provide suggestions for extending the learning with librarians, art teachers and families. The lessons are:


  1. Chicago: A History of Choices and Changes. Students read about du Sable and Burnham, and begin to make connections between historical choices and current conditions.
  2. Your Community Today. Students examine community assets.
  3. Plan Progress for Your Community. Students read about how communities change and consider ways to improve their own community.
  4. The City Today. Students think about important city infrastructure and ask others for their ideas about how to make improvements.
  5. Bold Plans. Big Dreams. Students make their own Bold Plans and Big Dreams for the City and communicate them in a letter to the Mayor.
  6. Appendix. Includes bibliographies, a map of Chicago Community Areas, photographs to accompany the lesson plans and a series of "Chicago Then and Now" images.



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.


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