Lesson 1

What Is A Community? 


  • NCSS Standard: People, Places, and Environments - provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects.
  • NCSS Standard: Global Connections - help learners to explain conditions and motivations that contribute to conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among groups, societies, and nations.
  • MMSD Standard (4): Geography – Explain how physical environment affects the way people live.
  • MMSD Standard (4): Behavioral Science - Explain how personal opinions and choices are shaped by one’s family and community. 



  • Students will work with the interactive map to visualize what urban, suburban, and rural communities look like.
  • Students will collaborate with their peers to further understand what a community entails.
  • Students will collaborate with their peers to further understand what a community entails.

Lesson Context:

The Community Unit begins with the students starting to think about what a community is. Throughout the unit, the students will experience their own community and the community of others. They will be working with a school in another community to build a partnership in learning about communities. Therefore, this introductory lesson is necessary for them to move further in the future lessons and activities in the unit.

Lesson Procedures:

  • Begin by asking the students, “What is a community?”
    • Spend a few minutes prompting questions to the students and writing their answers on the chalkboard.
      • Who is in a community?
      • What are some types of communities?
      • What do you see in a community? What do you hear?
      • Why are communities formed?
  • Bring the students to the computer lab and give them the community worksheet and community website.
  • When the students have completed the interactive map activity, bring them back to a classroom to fill out a chart.
  • Facilitate a brief discussion to compile a Venn diagram about what they’ve learned about the communities on the map.
    • The Venn diagram will reinforce the questions asked in the beginning of the lesson while providing options for the students to share what they discovered.
    • The Venn diagram will be on the wall in the classroom for the remainder of the unit for students to add more information as they learn more.

Special Considerations:

If the computer lab is not open or the technology is lacking, I will have a picture of the map on paper for each student to explore. The picture will contain the labels so the students can distinguish the different communities and the characteristics and elements of each. Further, if there are a few computers, I will have the students get into groups to explore the map.


The assessment entails the worksheet that the students are filling out while exploring the map of the different communities. I will also be gauging their participation and how they answer the questions that I ask them. While the students are exploring the map in the computer lab, I will walk around and ask some questions to be sure they understand what I have asked of them and what information the map is showing.

Format of the Worksheet:

What Is A Community?

Explore the interactive map and answer the questions below.

1. What do you find in the urban community?

2. What do you find in the suburban community?

3. What do you find in the rural community?


List three similarities in the communities

List three differences in the communities