How we learn about Communities

Learning Goals:
State Goal 14 - 14 A, C, D, E
State Goal 15 - 15 A, E, D


Unit 1: What Is A Community? (one - two weeks)

  1. The students learn to describe some features of a community and to explain what different people in a community do. (Any speaker lists about current community jobs that make the community run would be a great resource - even just job titles so that teachers could make contact).
  2. List some ways that early settlers worked together. (Jobs of the early settlers would be helpful so that we could compare how they have changed today). The book wants students to describe how changes in transportation changed in Indianapolis. (It would be more helpful if they could learn about the transportation changes in their own community).
  3. Students learn some reasons that communities might form links to one another. They then compare the cultures of one community with the culture of another. (We have three sister cities in this area from Russia, England, and Japan - it would be nice to have a listing of things to compare. I am sure other communities have Sister Cities and would like more information about them also).
  4. The feature focus of this unit is to help students construct and illustrate ways to show knowledge of communities and to classify date in categories for map keys. (Any old maps of the area and keys so the children can compare with the progress of the communities today would be helpful)

American Communities in History

Learning Goals:
State Goal 17 - 17 A, B, C, D

Unit 2: Early and Growing America - 3 to 4 weeks

  1. Native American Communities - mainly the text discusses the Iroquois and Hopi and how they adapted to their surrounds. (I would like to know more about the Kickapoo, Illinois, and Chipawa tribes that were in this area - any pictures or artifacts that we could put on a Website would be great).
  2. Explain why natural resources are important to industries and chart examples of the ways factories changed the communities. (Pictures of this area and a timeline if it is available would be helpful).
  3. List some of the reasons the immigrants came to the U.S. and explain how communities changed when these large numbers of immigrants arrived. (If you have any specific pictures of where the immigrants came from to this area and what their contributions were, that would be great! The Germans, Irish, African Americans, Upland Southerners, ... ??)
  4. Explain how the automobile changed how and where people worked. (Students love to see early photos of this time period and it would be great to have a picture identification game set-up on the Website).
  5. Identify changes made during the 20th century in regard to transportation of these times. (A pictorial timeline of different transportation methods would be interesting). (Any pictures of old road maps or compass roseses that we could use for comparison to our mapping skills of today would be good).
  6. Also does anyone have a timeline of the settlers' travel on the Ohio River that we could set up on the Website? (Is there a list of Native American speakers in this area?)

Communities and Geography

Learning Goals:
State Goal 16 - 16 C, D
State Goal 17 - 17 A, C, D

This Land of Ours (one week)
Unit 3: Communities and Their Geography

  1. Identify some natural resources in the area around Portland Oregon. (I would prefer the children did this area also for comparison so if you have pictures of our natural resources, that would help).
  2. Students will explain how people use one major resource. (This will be a group project so the above information about our area would help).
  3. Describe uses of the Mississippi River. (Does anyone have anecdotal stories about the Mississippi River or pictures of it at different times of the year?)
  4. The students need to take their knowledge of the Mississippi and explain how people along the river cope with flooding. I am using 'Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe' as the read aloud during this time and also Spider, Anno's Find-It-Game.

World Environments

Learning Goals:
State Goal 16 - 16 D, E
State Goal 17 - 17 B, C
State Goal 18 - 18 A, B, C

World Environments (two weeks)
Unit 4: Earning a Living

  1. Students study the area of Xiashen, China and describe how the geography helps people grow rice.
  2. Students relate the way of life in the village of Xiashen to farming. (Any artifacts, pictures or farming stories of this area would help bring this closer to home for the students)
  3. Students analyze the geography of Mexico City and the ways in which location has contributed to the success of Mexico City.
  4. Students identify the effect of human activity on Mexico City's physical environment. (We set up the bulletin board and do a comparison on our environment - so any pictures of the physical environment would help and the students will identify the effect of human activity).
  5. One of the featured focuses of this unit is to use climate and resource maps. (The more resources we have for comparison the more learning, so does anyone have climate maps or resource maps we could put in the Website?)
  6. We also do small group environment projects to help our school community. (The students generate the activity but someone may have great suggestions for projects and we would love to hear them).


Celebrations and Festivals

Learning Goals:
State Goal 16 - 16 A, B, D
State Goal 18 - 18 A, B, C

Unit 5: Our Country Celebrates

(This unit is throughout the year presenting certain celebrations at the correct time period - the book only focuses on The Fourth of July and A Rice Festival in the Cajun area of Louisiana).

  1. Compare celebrations in Rapid City and Washington, D.C. about The Fourth of July.
  2. Compare these celebrations to our community. (Does anyone have early celebration pictures of The Fourth of July or great stories of the early celebrations?)
  3. Describe how the Cajun area of Louisiana celebrates a natural resource. (What community celebrations do we have - Corn Festival and ???)
  4. Students will explain how a festival reflects culture. We also celebrate all holidays on the calendar and try to relate them to the particular cultures. Our unit on Japan (done in January) reflects all of the holidays and celebrations and we use it as our main comparison. (I would like the students to explore why some traditions change and others stay the same - does anyone have information on lost traditions?)
  5. (I also like the students to explore folk art and share the book Zeny's Zoo to begin this discussion. It would be great to have artifacts of folk art in this area!)

Governing Ourselves

Unit 6: Government in the United States (two to three weeks)

  1. Identify the basic functions of local government.
  2. Discuss some ways people participate in local government. (Is there a comprehensive list of local government jobs and addresses?)
  3. Identify some basic functions of counties.
  4. Discuss some ways people participate in county government. (Is there a comprehensive list of county government jobs and addresses?)
  5. Identify some basic functions of state government.
  6. Explain how state government works to provide for peoples needs. (Does anyone know of a book that shows the changes and growth of our state government that would work for 8 and 9 year olds?)
  7. Identify the three branches of national government.
  8. Show how local, county, state, and national government interact.

(I would like the students to be able to work in small groups and chart 7 & 8. Does anyone know of good resource materials for this age level?)