Discussing communities was the second part of our unit of inquiry “Who We Are.” After our discussion on family, we broadened our focus and asked:
Where do families live?
Brainstorming, as usual, was our first step. Once we figured out the definition of community, we narrowed our focus to three types of communities- city, suburb, and rural area. Brainstorming as a class is great for checking for prior knowledge, but I wanted to do it again to see if they could come up with additional ideas.
The second day, we compared two communities. There was some debate on whether or not things were actually similar or different. My favorite heated conversation was about the comment “Everyone is poor in the rural community.” That got some of them really talking!
The third day we talked about communities, I broke the class into three groups. Each group received a sheet of paper with a type of community written on it. I gave them a chance to write down information based on our definition of a community. After some time I helped facilitate more discussion by adding questions on the board. I loved seeing how focused they were with each other.
Once they came to a stopping point, I brought out the poster boards, construction paper, and a stack of boxes. I told them their only instructions were:
- Build your community
- Only use boxes, paper, glue, and tape
- Pick a poster color for the bottom and don’t cut it.
They had so many questions that all started with, “Can we…”
And I got to answer with my favorite phrase.
You can do whatever you want.
…As long as you follow the instructions.
And they were off.