Introduction: Boston Neighborhood Demographics

Boston Racial Demographics by Neighborhood

Whether you are teaching about the demographics, energy consumption, or immigration in Boston, one way to "make it real" for students is to have them design and print their own 3D population maps based on real-world, searchable data. So are you ready to make demography your destiny? You're in the right place! Through this Instructable, you will discover all the resources you need for your students to create 3D graphs that visually display various demographics such as population, employment, tax rates, and more. This project is designed to be a simple introduction to using Tinkercad and can be enhanced in many ways to meet your students’ and projects’ needs. By the end of this project, your students will:Create a 3D model of Boston neighborhoods with graphs to represent demographicsImport and modify a 3D model in TinkercadUse math to create a scale representation of a statistic whether your students are graphing, modeling, or viewing each other's work, they will be gaining a deeper understanding not only of the demographics they are graphing but also how to manipulate and represent data in new and exciting ways. And as a teacher, you will be expanding your horizons too, as you and your students bring geography to life!

Step 1: Step 1: Meet the Teacher

Tim Harrison is a current Special Education teacher at Brighton High School in Brighton, MA. Tim has been teaching Math, ELA, and History for the past 7 years.

Tim is known passionately for his commitment to his students and developing a classroom environment of humor and empathy.

Step 2: Map Out the City

After gathering demographic data, the Tinkercad work will only take approximately 10-30 minutes. Printing will vary depending on size and in-fill. A 10 cm x 10 cm model could take approximately 5 hours to 3D print, but you could also have students screenshot their work and present it as a digital or print infographic. They can also use Legos or clay to show off their data visually.

In addition, there is a wide array of standards, grade levels, and even subject areas to frame the project around. In the Unit link below will have several Common Core Standards for you to use. But in the meantime, here are some relevant lessons that should be implemented prior to the project. We are focusing on a social justice and artistic lens when implementing the overall unit. Make sure to implement these materials and lessons prior to students researching into Boston:

Race and Media In Boston Unit

Step 3: Research Demographics

Once you and your students have determined a topic for their 3D population map, you can provide them with a list of resources related to their featured demographic to research. Here are some examples to start with:

Boston Demographics change over several decades

Step 4: Copy the Template

It's Tinkercad time! If you haven't yet, it might be wise to have your students practice Tinkercad's key features through these six quick & simple lessons. If you are new to teaching Tinkercad, first, give yourself a high-five for being so awesome, then take a look at this Instructable, which will help you as you think about managing your classroom for "making."Once your students are ready to get going, they can find each of the following models in the Tinkercad Gallery:

Boston Demographics Map

When you access the file, click the blue "Copy & Tinker" button to edit it.

Step 5: Edit the Height of One Neighborhood

Click on any neighborhood (object) that you wish to edit. Then click on the white box on top of the object. You will see the number 2.00 in a box to the right of it.

A tip for scaling: When you change the height of each object, it is easier to use 10.00 as 100% and scale all your statistics from there. So 50% would be 5.00, 20% is 2.00, etc.

Step 6: Complete Height Changes

Make changes to all of the heights of the neighborhoods based on the research students have completed.

Step 7: Final Thoughts

Check to make sure students have copied the 3D model (or lego model, or clay model)

Check to see if the neighborhoods have been adjusted to appropriate heights. Depending on the content you are teaching through this project, you might also check for deeper understanding by asking students to consider questions such as:

Why is it important for students to study demographics?

How does the map show implicit or explicit bias?

What surprised you about your map?

Does what you see on the map explain some of your experiences around the Boston area?

Are there races that are grouped in one area rather than spread out?

Why you do think this happened?

How does this deepen our understanding of Boston nominated as the most unwelcoming city in America according to a 2017 study?

What can and should be done to help make Boston more welcoming to different races and cultures?

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