In Downs’ winning project, “Building a Community,” first-grade students will be designing, constructing, running and evaluating small green communities. The project incorporates math, reading, writing, science, social studies and technology. Students will work in groups as architects and city planners to design a community. They must collaborate to design roads and decide what businesses and government buildings are needed and where houses and schools should be located in the community. Students will use laptops and tablets to take notes during their city planning sessions and research green building solutions. They will use several different applications to name their business, design floor plans and decide the prices of the goods they sell. Students will also draft laws for the community and decide how they will be enforced, as well as hold an election for Mayor and City Council. Downs resides in Surprise.