October 25, 2015
By Susan Russell

Lesson plan

My Community and I

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  • Students will be able to successfully identify and discuss the city, state, country, and planet their community is located in.
(15 minutes)
  • Begin your lesson by asking your students to draw a picture of their community.
  • Have your class turn and talk to a partner about their drawings. Encourage them to discuss topics, such as what they see or notice in their community.
  • Pick two drawings to share with the class. Most likely, these drawings will show people and things in the community, but won't include clues about location.
  • Gather the class together. Display one drawing at the front of the room and take students through the See/Think/Wonder Thinking Routine (developed by Harvard Graduate School of Education's Project Zero).

See/Think/Wonder Thinking Routine Steps

  1. Ask your class about what everyone sees in the picture. Encourage them to be concrete and point to specific details.
  2. Next, ask your students what they think about the drawing. For this step, encourage inferences rather than concrete observations.
  3. Finally, ask your students what they wonder about the picture. This is a time to ask questions and think big, such as "What are some things that are in every community?"
  • Repeat the process again with the second picture.
  • Tell your class to think about the activity they just did. Considering the drawing, ask them what they think the word "community" means.
  • Work together to develop a shared definition of this term. Write down the definition where all of your students can view it. Use chart paper or a document camera. If your students use notebooks, have them record the terms and definition in their notebooks. A basic definition of CommunityIs a place where people live, work, and play.
  • Ask your class what things a community shares. Explain how a community shares a geographic location, weather, and government.
  • Discuss how students drew important people, places and things in their communities. Tell the class that through this lesson they'll be exploring where their communities are located.
  • Ask your students to read the other vocabulary terms: school, city, state, country, and planet. Tell them they'll use a map as a text to gather information and explore what the vocabulary terms mean.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell your class that the next part of the lesson will help them develop knowledge and understanding about where their community is located.
  • Start with the term SchoolAnd define it in geographic terms. Where is it located in your community? Talk about the school address and how it defines its location in your community. Record your definition on your paper or anchor chart with the word community and its definition.
  • Next, work with your students to help them understand the term city. Use a map and locate the city your school is located in. Discuss how a CityIs defined on the map by boundaries and population. With student input, develop and define the term city on your chart of definitions.
  • Continue developing definitions for the rest of the terms: State, Country, and Planet. Use a map to help your students visualize the geographic location and definition of each term.
  • When all of the definitions have been recorded, display your paper as an anchor chart.
(10 minutes)
  • Display your maps of the world, your country, and your state. Next to these maps, display your diagram or poster of the solar system. These materials will help your class visualize where your community fits in nationally and globally.
  • Use your maps to provide a visual representation of the vocabulary terms.
  • Begin with the solar system diagram. Ask students to come up and point out the planet their community is located on. Discuss the location of Earth in alignment with the other planets.
  • Ask a student volunteer to come up to the map of your country and locate your state. Discuss its location and identify surrounding states and important landforms.
  • Choose another volunteer to locate the city or town they live in on the state map. This may be challenging, and if no student is able to locate your city, demonstrate how you locate it. Talk about landforms that help you find your city, such as a nearby lake, river, or mountain.
  • Ask other students to come up to the map and locate their country, city, and state.
(20 minutes)
  • Hand out a piece of white paper to each student.
  • Instruct your students to make a picture to show their community's location. Tell them to come up with a way of showing their community's city, state, country and planet. This could be through a map, a circle diagram, or separate drawings. Encourage your class to think outside the box!
  • Ask your students to write label their city, state, country and planet on their drawing.
  • Collect all completed papers.

Enrichment:Have students practise writing their home addresses. Ask them to determine the continent and hemisphere that their home is located in.

Support:Allow students who are struggling with the concepts to work with a partner when completing the community map.

(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to discuss their maps with their elbow partner. Then, tell the partner to ask clarifying questions or request further information about the map, such as:
    • What did you mean when you said ____?
    • Do you mean...?
    • Can you give me more details about ____?
  • Allow a few people to share their maps with the whole class. Check for mastery of the concepts.
  • Check which students were able to correctly represent and label the locations of their communities during their partner discussion and whole-group sharing.
(10 minutes)
  • Discuss the maps as a group. Take students through the see/wonder/think routine with 1-2 maps.
  • Give students the chance to share their thought questions with the class and see if students can answer the questions as a whole-group.

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