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Creating a Community

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 3rd Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1

Time Frame

5 class periods of 30 minutes each

Life Skills

  • Aesthetics
  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication
  • Social & Civic Responsibility
  • Systems Thinking


Katharina Hartshorn
Laura Zimmerman


The enduring knowledge includes the fact that students often have the misconception that every community mirrors theirs. This lesson intends to show that there are differences as well as similarities in communities around the world, and that all communities are valuable. Their uniqueness adds to their global value.




Large pieces of cardboard, posterboard or newsprint (stiff materials preferred), paper, Legos, clay, markers, recycled milk cartons, etc. Photos or drawings of the teacher's family--who lives in their house, as well as what their occupations are and where they were born. Michaels (the craft store) Popsicle stick people or comparable person outlines.

Background for Teachers

Create a large circular puzzle on the card board and cut the pieces out. Make the pieces fairly large (each piece needs to be at least 18" x 24") and have the pieces fit together.

Student Prior Knowledge

Thinking about what their family does together and where they are from.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Essential Questions:

  • What is a community?
  • Why are we a global community even when communities are different?

Instructional Procedures

The teacher will read "Weslandia" to the class as an introduction. Have a class discussion about the book and then, as a pre-assessment, make a chart of what a community includes and discuss the culture created in the text.

Next class period, the teacher begins by talking about themselves -- where they were born, and who lives in their home right now and what they do. Teacher should discuss what traditions they have, what they celebrate, what foods they love, music they listen to, what hobbies they have, etc.

Then the teacher asks students to think about their own family. Hand out the Building A Community worksheet(see attachments) and have the students fill it out as completely as they are able.

If the students don't know where people in their family are from or what they do, they can take this portion home as homework to be returned the next day.

Next, discuss the class as a community. Where is everyone from, what languages do they speak, what do they have in common?

Next, talk about the school -- what do the members of the school community have in common, and what are the differences?

Have the students think about the local community, including businesses and places of recreation. Have students look at their own charts and discuss what their parents do for jobs, where they like to play, what activities are in the area to do or where can they go in their community? Teacher makes a class chart.

Following this, briefly discuss the State as a community, the nation, and finally the world. Again, ask if we all speak the same languages or like the same food, do we look alike or wear the same clothes? No, but we do have the planet in common and we are more alike than we are different.

If desired, teacher can show some of the Culturegrams from the UEN site and the slide shows from Davis District. Now, divide the students into groups of 3. Each group receives a puzzle piece. This is their "ground" for the community they create. Also hand out a rubric. The teams can create a community using any appropriate material, but they should include the items on the rubric and be able to defend their decisions.

The students will need at least one or two days to create the 3-D community. They will present their pieces to the class and explain and defend their usage of buildings, clothing, language, etc.

After all groups have presented, the class puts the pieces together into a large, global community. The class should discuss this process - What happened here? Why do all the pieces fit together? How are they the same, and what makes them different? Is this a place you would like to live?

Finally, if possible, the puzzle could be displayed somewhere in the school.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Groups composed of differently abled students; peer evaluation and interaction, each home community is valued for its uniqueness


Students can research other important aspects of communities that make them unique or similar to other global communities and present to class their findings in whatever format they deem appropriated (Power Point, etc.)

Assessment Plan

The students working in small groups of 3 will create their own 3-D "puzzle piece" community that includes items mentioned on rubric.


Weslandia (Paperback) by Paul Fleischman, Cultural Elements from Davis District thanks to Chris Hall and Jon Hyatt


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