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Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 2nd Grade
Standard 2 Objective 3

Additional Core Ties

Social Studies - 2nd Grade
Standard 1 Objective 1


Utah LessonPlans


Activities and a game help students compare rural, suburban, and urban communities.


Additional Resources


  • On the Town: A Community Adventure, by Judith Casely; ISBN 0060295848
  • Community Helpers from A-Z, by Bobbie Kalman and Niki Walker; ISBN 0865054045
  • Curious George Takes a Job, by H.A. Rey; ISBN 0395186498
  • Helping Out, by George Ancona; ISBN 0395547741


  • City, Suburb, and Rural Communities, by School Videos: Education in motion; ISBN 1585412007

Background for Teachers

Farms, ranches, large animals, houses spaced far apart, sporadic traffic, and children riding the bus to school often characterize rural communities. Rural communities are often referred to as "the country".

Suburban communities are areas located outside of large cities. They are often characterized by individual homes located in neighborhoods that have yards. There is less traffic than in the city. Children ride buses, bikes, or they may walk to school, while parents often commute to work.

Urban communities are areas of high population density, with people living close together (often apartments), and lots of traffic. They usually boast easy access to movie theaters, restaurants, subways or other forms of mass transportation. Libraries, museums, sports arenas, zoos, and parks are often found there.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. Compare rural, suburban, and urban communities.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn Students are invited to cut and sort the Community Characteristic Cards into groups. After sorting, students can explain to the class what criteria they used to sort them.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Review the differences between urban, suburban, and rural communities.
  2. Write the categories on the board. Pass out a Large Community Card to each student and have them place their cards under the correct heading.
  3. Tell them that some of the cards share the same category. Divide the students into small groups and tell them to choose two types of communities to compare and contrast. (Each small group will need to use one set of the Small Community Cards for this activity.) Have them display their work by creating a Venn diagram and labeling each one by placing a name card above each circle. (A Venn diagram may be created by overlapping two hula-hoops.) Tell the students to place pictures in the appropriate categories. Assign one person from each group to explain to the class how they separated the cards while displaying their Venn diagram. The rest of the class will need to gather around their display.
  4. Introduce the students to the Through the Community game board.
  5. Teach the rules of the game and allow them time to play it.
    a. Each player picks a game piece and places it on start.
    b. Players take turns rolling the dice and moving their piece.
    c. Students read the space they land on and follow the directions.
    d. The first student to the finish line wins.
    e. Students can start over after their group has a winner.
  6. Divide students into small groups. Give each student a 3x5 card. Students help each other decide which kind of community each person lives in. As the decisions are made about each one, have them write it down on their card.
  7. Using the headings that were previously written on the board, have students place their cards under the appropriate heading.
  8. Display each type on a bar graph and generate a class discussion about the results.
  9. Play Community Round Up. This game needs to be played in the gym or outside. Choose two students to represent each of the community types. Have these students wear or hold something to help distinguish them as a type of community. Hand cards out with the name of the community they are representing written on them. These students shouldn't let the other students know which card they are holding yet. Divide equal amounts of Small Community Cards to represent the three different communities. Designate a location where each of the communities will be located. When the teacher starts the game, the students who are "it" try to catch the other students. When a student is caught, they will need to show their card to their "catcher," and the "catcher" must show their card to the student who is "it." If the cards match together according to the criteria of the community, they are caught and must go to the location assigned for that community. If it doesn't fit, they are free to go. When a community is filled with the designated amount of students who are holding cards that represent that community, the teacher gives the stop signal. Each of the students will need to hold up their cards while telling the rest of the class which cards they have. If all of the cards meet the criteria of that community, that community wins. The teacher chooses different students to represent the communities, and instructs the remaining students to trade their cards and play again.


  • Have students create pop-up cards representing the different community types.
  • Create a paper pyramid and label each side as an urban, rural, or suburban community. Have the students sort the Small Community Cards and glue them to the appropriate side of the pyramid (Triorama).
  • Have students develop a computer presentation about the different community types and have the class present their work to another class or to their parents.

Family Connections

  • Students could create a poster with pictures and drawings of their house and family.
  • Invite the students to draw or collect pictures with their families to represent each of the three communities.
  • Students could take their game, Through the Community, home and play it with their family.
  • Have the students write a letter to a relative who lives in a different type of community. Have them describe their community to them and ask the relative to write a letter back and describe their community.

Assessment Plan

  • The teacher verbally describes a rural, urban or a suburban community, or holds up some Community Cards to represent one. The students write their responses on their dry erase boards by writing an R for rural, S for suburban, and U for Urban. When they are finished they hold up their board for the teacher to see.
  • Using the Blank Community Game board, have students create their own game using situations that are appropriate for the different types of communities. This could be done in small groups or individually. After creating the game, they could invite others to play it.


Research Basis

Emmer, E.T., Gerwels, M. C., (2002). Cooperative Learning in Elementary Classrooms: Teaching Practices and Lesson Characteristics. Retrieved from The Elementary School Journal, Vol. 103 (Number 1) p.75-91

Cooperative learning opportunities for students allow them to be able to learn as they process information in small group situations. Every student is accountable for their part in the group's final product. This process helps improve student motivation, social skills, and attitudes towards learning.

Collinston, E., (2000). A Survey of Elementary Students' Learning Style Preferences and Academic Success. EBSCO. Retrieved January 20, 2007, from

There are several different learning styles. Learning styles include the ways that students learn, process, retain information, and behave. Some of these include the following: visual, auditory, and tactile. Catering to a variety of styles ensures that all students will be able to be successful learners. It is especially important for the low achieving students who generally prefer to learn as one or more peers assist them, and as they are provided many hands-on experiences.

Created: 07/09/2007
Updated: 02/05/2018