A Sprawling Issue Teacher's Page
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. Click here for more information on the Kelo Decision.

Step 1: Have the students read the article regarding eminent domain.

Step 2: Questions Set 1- Ask the questions in front of class to stimulate discussion.

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. Why do you think this is happening?

Step 3: Have the students read another article on eminent domain. Click here for another article on the Thomson Farm.

Step 4: Question Set 2- Ask the questions in front of the class to help stimulate discussion.

1. Are activities like this common? Picture of changes
2. What is the definition of urban sprawl?
3. What is the definition o eminent domain?
4. What is the difference between urban sprawl and eminent domain?
5. Why is this happening?

Step 5: You 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-Ask the questions in front of the class to help stimulate discussion.

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. You 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: Assign 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: Each group is the city planner for a developing city. There is lots of farm land surrounding the sprawling city. They have to find a solution to the urban sprawl. Once they have devised a plan, they will need to see if anyone already has this plan in use and how it is working. Following the conclusion of their 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


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


 2) Presentation



National Education Standards


  • Understand how culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions.
  • Understand the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface.


  • Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions
  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features.
  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.


  • Risks and benefits
  • Population growth-
  • Science and technology in Society
  • Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

Basic Operations and Concepts

  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems.
  • Students are proficient in the use of technology.

Technology Productivity Tools

  • Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.
  • Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.

National Geographic has a great resource for urban sprawl. They have many lessons and activities for students.

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This page was developed by Ashley Noblitt, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau.

Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.