Lesson 3: Comparing Communities

The purpose of this lesson is to further student’s understanding of community, their own place in it, and the diversity that exists among various types of communities. The focus is on comparing students’ own community to other types (urban, suburban, rural), to neighboring towns (Deerfield and Highland Park), and a community that is farther away (ePals). Students will find same, similar, and different characteristics and use a variety of communication media to learn and collaborate. For detailed lesson information, please visit the Teacher Resources pages.

  • Use prior knowledge to comprehend material
  • Oral and written communication - represent ideas in a variety of ways
  • Speak in front of a group
  • Ask questions and make observations
  • Communicate information and ideas to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
  • Interact, collaborate and publish with peers
  • Practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
  • Exhibit a positive attitude toward technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity

Motivational Activity: Deerfield, IL

A video camera in the front seat of a car takes us on a drive through Deerfield, Illinois. Traveling the main roads, we stop along the way to see points of interesting including the train station, the house where our tour guide, Jeff, grew up, plus several schools, stores and restaurants. A fast motion effect is used to speed the viewer through the entire community in just over three minutes.

Information Presentation Activity: Read-Aloud and Discussion

We've already learned a lot about communities like ours. Do you know of any other kinds of communities? Read a book or two (or four) - How does our community compare? Did anything surprise you?
  • City (Neighborhood Walk), by Peggy Pancella
  • Small Town (Neighborhood Walk), by Peggy Pancella
  • Farm Community (Neighborhood Walk), by Peggy Pancella
  • The City Kid and the Suburban Kid, by Deb Pilutti

Information Processing Activity: Making Comparisons

Learn what a Venn Diagram is then use it to sort information. Start with this Flipchart then try out one of your own. Make a list of familiar items then drag and drop them into the space. Compare Deerfield and Highland Park. What's the same? What's different? Let the Venn Diagram help you compare and contrast.

Teachers, click on the image to visit the download page.

Information Processing Activity: Sharing and Comparing with Skype

Teachers, open a Skype account and your students can visit with other kindergarteners in other communities. Find a buddy teacher, then students can brainstorm questions, and it will be time to schedule a call. You can learn more about their community and they can learn about yours. Use Skype's built-in recording feature to rebroadcast the classes' conversation and post it on the blog or wiki.

Teachers, check out the links in the lesson plan for more info about using Skype in the classroom.

Application Activity: A Community Takes Shape

Use shapes to create a skyline. Choose one: Can you make an urban skyline? How about suburban? Can you make your skyline look like our community? Explain where your shape creation fits into the Compare/Contrast Venn Diagram. Skyline Project - Online Resource.

Teachers, visit the Additional Activities page for other themed projects.

Application Activity: Sharing and Comparing on a Blog

Use the blog to share ideas about the community? What do you like best about living here? Have you ever visited a different type of community? Your teacher can post questions, then you and your 3rd grade buddy can share your thoughts and see what everyone else has to say!Teachers, for more information about blogs visit TeacherFirst Blog Basics.

Closure/Review: Highland Park, IL

This FantasticPlanetTV video gives you on a bird’s-eye view of Highland Park, Illinois. Beginning from high above the ground, the viewer sees the location of the town in relation to Lake Michigan and zooms in close enough to be able to identify major landmarks.

Click on the image to open the movie in a new window.

Assessment Suggestions for Teachers

Participation Checklist

Tally student responses and input during video, book and Skype discussions. Goal – Contribute to class discussions one or more times per day (half-day kindergarten).

Blog Posts - Rubric
Since kindergarteners will be dictating responses to their third grade buddies, blog posts can be graded on content only:
  • On topic / answers question
  • Two or more sentences
  • Beginning, middle and end

Community Shapes - Rubric
Task completion rubric:
  • Student completes task independently
  • Student completes task with support
  • Student does not complete task