A Sprawling Issue

A  WebQuest for Grades 8 - 12, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University


Driving down the road, it is almost impossible not to see a new development or subdivision being built. Small towns outside major cities now seem as if they are part of that big city.  They no longer appear separate from one another.  In recent years, urban sprawl and eminent domain have become bigger issues due in part to the Kelo v. City of New London Decision.

Your task is to learn about the importance of urban sprawl and eminent domain. You will evaluate the impact of these two problems and then propose possible solutions to the problems.  You will participate in individual and group assignments.  There will be reading and written assignments as well as oral assignments.

Complete the following sets of questions and answer all questions completely on your own paper.  Use proper sentence structure, grammar and spelling rules. You will turn in all written answers to the instructor.

Step 1: Read this article regarding eminent domain. 

Step 2: Question Set 1:

1. How do you feel about this lady?
2. What do you think the lady should do now?
3. In your opinion, what should the city do now?
4. Do you believe that what the city did was right?

Step 3: Read the follow up newspaper article on eminent domain.

Step 4:  Question Set 2

1. Do you think activities like this are common?
2. What is the definition of urban sprawl?
3. What is the definition of eminent domain?
4. Explain the difference between urban sprawl and eminent domain.
5. After reading this resource about populations, answer this question.

Step 5: Your instructor will divide the class in half. One half of the class will read this National Geographic article and the other half of the class will read this Missouri Conservation article regarding urban sprawl. Students will talk among themselves about the article. Select a spokesperson from each group to tell about the article and what was discussed.

Step 6: Question Set 3

1. What do you think about urban sprawl now?
2. What do you think should be done about urban sprawl?
3. Who should regulate it?
4. What can you do to regulate it?

Step 7: Question Set 4:

1. What effects do you think urban sprawl/eminent domain will have on you?  - on economy?  - on agriculture?
2. The instructor will separate the class into groups again and will read opposing articles on urban sprawl.
                        In your opinion, who do you believe is right and why?
3. Each student will now complete Assignment 1 below.

Step 8: Get into assigned groups of 2-3 people and complete assignment 2 below.

Assignment 1: Interview a person in the agriculture industry and ask them about their opinion on urban sprawl and eminent domain. Come up with 5 questions (approved by your instructor) for them to answer. After the interview, have them sign the sheet for proof of interview.

Assignment 2: Your group is the city planner for a developing city. There is lots of farm land surrounding the sprawling city. You have to find a solution to the urban sprawl. Once you have devised a plan, you will need to see if anyone already has this plan in use and how it is working. Following the conclusion of your research, an oral presentation with supporting visuals will be given. Use the following resources to help find a solution.

Urban Sprawl Planning
Smart Growth
Sprawl City

With populations increasing, it is becoming more and more important for farmers to utilize their resources to produce enough food to feed the world. The increasing population also seems to be causing a need for more land for places to live. Since you have now researched this problem, inform others of what you have found through your research.


Rubric for Assignment 1 and 2
Assignment Yes No Points Possible Points Earned Comments
 1) Interview


 2) Presentation



NRCS photos in the public domain.

This WebQuest was created by teachers participating in Missouri's Agriculture in the Classroom program at Missouri State University through a USDA grant.  The template on this site was adapted from a template from The WebQuest Page and the original was designed by Dr. Lyndon Irwin.  Assistance for this project was provided by Mrs. Barbara Irwin, M.S. and Mrs. Diane Olson, M.S.

Teachers are encouraged to adapt this lesson for classroom use only.  No part of this publication may be transmitted, stored, recorded or published in any form without written permission from Missouri Farm Bureau. This page was developed by Ashley Noblitt, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau. Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau