Authored by: Betsy Fitzgerald, Erskine Academy
Grade Level: 5-8 (adaptable for Grades 3-4)
The MLR performance indicators listed below are for illustrative purposes. Depending on the focus of the lessons as developed by individual teachers, these indicators may or may not be addressed. Conversely this is not a definitive listing of all of the performance indicators which could be addressed in this lesson.
MLR - Middle Grades: Social Studies: (Civics A - 2, C - 3), (Geography G - 4); Language Arts: (Stylistic/ Rhetorical G - 3,4,5,6,7,8,10), (Research H - 1,2,6,9,10); Mathematics: (Number sense A - 3,4), (Statistics C - 3), (Geometry E - 1,2,3,4), (Measurement F - 2, 3), (Patterns F - 2), (Reasoning J - 2), (Communication K - 2)
Students identify a potentially dangerous intersection in town. After discussion, students have to determine the best course of action; at least one suggestion should include rebuilding the intersection, taking a piece of a landowner's lawn for the project. The landowner doesn't want to lose part of his lawn. What to do? The concept of eminent domain is difficult, but it should be introduced as part of the discussion.
Students should develop a model of the intersection with accurate scale being used. Students need to create possible scenarios for a solution to the situation. Models should be developed to illustrate the solutions developed. Students need to identify how each solution will impact the landowners and the town.
For each solution, one student is the landowner, one is a town official, one is a motorist who has either had an accident or a bad scare at the intersection, and one can be an interested party. In the role-play, the students should concentrate on one method to fix the intersection. Students will act out their scenarios, making sure each participant plays his part. Other students will soon measure the depth of the arguments.
Eminent Domain, Maine Townsman, "Legal Notes," August 1992
Eminent Domain and Prescriptive Use from Municipal Roads Manual, Maine Municipal Association, 1992.
Eminent Domain Forms from Municipal Roads Manual, Maine Municipal Association, 1992.
"Roadway Design," Chapter 2 of Roadway Fundamentals for Municipal Officials, a workshop presented by the Maine Local Roads Center, Maine Department of Transportation, 1995
"Roadway Safety and 'Clear Zones'," Chapter 9.5 of Roadway Fundamentals for Municipal Officials, a workshop presented by the Maine Local Roads Center, Maine Department of Transportation, 1995
Traffic Signal, Flashers, and Speed Limits an excerpt from Public Works, January 1990.
Town Code Enforcement Officer
Criteria for Evaluating Quality of Product or Performance
Students will evaluate their role-plays for believability.
If this situation exists in the town, consider asking a town official to come to class and hear what the students have to say. Assuming the students have such a situation, the next step is on to a Selectmen's meeting.