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Communities Unit

Unit Overview:

In this unit, students will learn about communities. There is no better way to learn about communities than to create your own community from scratch. In this unit students will learn about the facets of a community while creating their own community where they serve as the mayor. Families are encouraged to delve deep and extend this project in any way possible. This lesson map serves as a guide and foundation.

Neighborhood kidsIn this unit, students will learn about types of communities, community helpers, resources, economics, and the social connections that make a community successful. As they design their community, students will learn about geography, as they will be required to think about landforms, climate, and create a detailed map of their community. As part of this project, students will learn about history, politics, and lawmaking as they determine how to make their community thrive.


Unit Lessons:

Lesson 1: Unit Introduction
- Communities unit introduction and discussion about the Create-A-Community project.
- Discuss life in a community and things a community needs. Make a list of the important parts of a community (fire stations, schools, shopping, mail, laws...). Use your community as an example in the discussion.

Lesson 2: Types Of Neighborhoods
- Use the Eduplace website to teach about different types of communities (rural, suburb, urban cities).
- Talk about your city and see statistics (find the city statistics on the web and Wikipedia sites as a guide).
- At the end of the lesson, tell your child that tomorrow they will be starting their Create-A Community project and ask him or her to start thinking about where their community will be, what type it will be, and the community name.

Lesson 3: Community Name & Folder
- Discuss names for communities (reasons for particular names, implications of names, and brainstorm ideas). Have your child come up with 3-4 potential names for his or her community and 2-3 ideas of what their community might become famous for in a short writing exercise. Then discuss and brainstorm the potential names and make a final name choice.
- Have your child create a Community Folder (large construction paper folded in half or any type of folder).
--> On the front, have the child write the name of the community largely in fancy printing or block letters. --> The child must also write: "Mayor their name" and draw/color some type of border.
--> The child will keep the work they complete for this project in their folder.

Lesson 4: Geography & Community Profile*
- Discuss climate and geography (weather in mountain areas, coastal areas, tropical areas, deserts...). Use a map to discuss our country's geography and have the child think about the geography of his or her community.
- Briefly review types of communities (if necessary, refer to the Eduplace website for a review of types of communities).
- Work on the Community Profile page. Go over each step as the child fills out each section in relation to their new community. The population section will require math instruction so it will be important that the Learning Coach assists with this step.
- Put the Community Profile page in their folder.
* Click on the underlined links to access a copy of the worksheets for this project.

Lesson 5: Community Resources Guide
- Discuss resources/services in a community and why each of these are important as you work with the child on their Community Resources Guide (go through each part together and discuss). You can use your city's statistics as a guide to help students make reasonable choices.
- Discuss transportation in certain types of communities (cities versus rural). Use this discussion to help your child fill out the transportation section of this guide.
- Put the Community Resources page in their folder.

Lesson 6: Employment In Your Community
- Discuss jobs that are necessary to make a community successful. Assist the student in completing their Employment Guide.
- Create an Employment Collage to go with this section. Use magazines to find pictures for the collage of different jobs found in their community.

Lesson 7: Entertainment In Your CommunityPlay
- Brainstorm with the child types of entertainment in a community. Assist him or her in completing the Entertainment Guide. Be sure to discuss how to decide on reasonable numbers to use.
- Create an Entertainment Collage to go with this section.

Lesson 8: Community Map
- Discuss maps, cardinal directions, and symbols.
- Discuss and show examples of ways to distinguish between buildings and labeling important resources.
- Create the rough draft of a community map. Most of the items from the Community Resources page (not necessarily all restaurants/shopping) and any main places from the Community Entertainment page should be included in the student's maps. Also include roads and highways.

Lesson 9: Community Map (Part 2)
- Create a final copy of the community map on a larger piece of paper (11x17 if available). Talk about neatness, details, labels, and use of color.
Note: It may be nice to take the completed map and laminate it to the inside of the Community Folder.

Lesson 10: Community Model
Create a 3-D model, detailed poster, or display of the community.

Lesson 11: Government
- Discuss how local governments function and how laws are made. Discuss the mayor's role in a community.
- Complete the Mayor Profile page (this is a page about the student, as he or she is the mayor).

Lesson 12: Community Laws
- Discuss the importance of having and enforcing laws.
- Have your child brainstorm (on paper or in a journal) at least 10 laws for their community.
- The child will choose the top 6 laws and copy them onto the Community Laws page.

Lesson 13: Community History
- Discuss time lines and the importance of documenting important events.
- Students will create a historical time line of their community. Include the founding date, times of major events, and when critical businesses began which shaped the community.

Lesson 14: Town Hero Story
- Lead a class discussion about people shaping communities. Explain that in communities there are usually a few people that help shape that town's history or people who are a local hero. Discuss that heros can come in any shape and size, being loved for something big or small.
- Students will create a rough draft of a town hero story in their journals.

Lesson 15: Town Hero Story (Part 2)
- Have your child edit their town hero story then give it to you to help edit (make sure they try to edit first before you help). Students will complete the final copy of town hero story on the paper provided or type the story.

Lesson 16: Community Newspaper
- Lead a discussion about the reasons for and importance of news/newspapers.
- Assist your child in brainstorming and completing a few stories for their Community Newspaper.

Lesson 17: Unit Conclusion & Assessment
- Lead a wrap-up discussion about communities and all it takes to have a community thrive. Debrief about the Create-A-Community project.
- Share your community project with at least 3 people. Have your child explain the parts of their community and tell why the parts are important.


Additional Resources:

Additional Activities:

- Work as a family to create a map of your neighborhood or community.

- Do some service learning as a family. Volunteer time to clean up the community or help someone in need.


Here is a list of websites that focus on communities:

- Sunguard Kids and Community

- PBS Kids (Mr. RogersĀ® Build A Neighborhood)

- DLTK's (Community Helpers Coloring Pages)