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Ghost Town Awakening

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 3

Time Frame

5 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication


Pieter Lingen


Students find and research a ghost town of Utah, and select the necessary things that it would need in order for it to function and grow.


Ghost Towns and History of the American West

Intended Learning Outcomes

Essential Question/Enduring Understanding:

  • Who are the producers and consumers in a local community? Why are they important in order for a community to thrive?
Students will know...
  • the basic public goods and services vs. private goods and services found in a community.
The Students will understand...
  • the necessary things that a town needs in order for it to function and grow.
Students will be able to…
  • Identify 10 different types of services that are necessary to have in every community.
  • Identify the differences between a want and a need.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Have students find and research a Utah ghost town including the name, county in which it is located, history, and why it is a ghost town now using Ghost Towns and History of the American West. Fill in the Ghost Towns of Utah information sheet (see materials). Share what they have found as a class.
  2. Have a class discussion on what businesses and services would need to be present in a community to make it a safe and pleasant place in which to live. List them on the board. In your discussion, talk about public goods and services like schools and police stations. Explain to the class how these services are provided to communities by the government. Then talk to the class about private goods and services, sold in places like toy stores, grocery stores, clothing stores, or law offices. The businesses that sell these goods and services are not owned by the government; they are usually owned by people in your community. Break the class up into groups of 4-5 and have them choose one of the ghost towns they researched to bring back to life. Have the groups brainstorm what businesses and government services would be necessary for the town to once again be attractive to residents and thrive.
  3. Arrange for a mayor or a city council member to visit your classroom. On the day of the visit, have the groups interview the visitor by taking turns asking the leader different questions. (Before they interview the leader, have the students, working in their groups, write out the questions that they are going to ask. Have the groups ask questions that focus on the types of services that are necessary to have in every community. Review the questions with each group prior to the arrival of the visitor.) After the interviews, discuss as a class what they have learned from the visitor. Will they change any essential services or businesses for their ghost town revitalization?
  4. Students will create a poster with a map of the town including 10 businesses and service agencies that would be necessary to have in a community. After drawing and labeling the community, they should explain why each business or agency was selected and tell, for each one, whether it produces a good or a service for the community.

    Services needed to ensure growth in a community might include a water-treatment plant, a police station, a fire station, an electrical plant, a gas company, grocery stores, clothing stores, hardware or lumber stores, hospitals, doctor's offices, schools, banks, a post office, restaurants, car dealerships, and dentists.


  • At the end of the lesson, select a business in your community and give a report about the history of each building/service, explaining when it came to the city and what it does for the community.
  • Interview the heads of various municipal departments, or invite them into the classroom.
  • Develop a travel brochure highlighting some of the interesting sites, businesses and opportunities available in your community.

    Assessment Plan

    The students will select six out of the eight businesses and services that they feel would be absolutely necessary in order for their ghost town to survive, and write paragraph explaining why.


    Sedivy , Nancy (2008, 5, 21). June 26, 2009. from

Created: 06/26/2009
Updated: 02/05/2018