After reading in our textbooks about these communities and reading some non-fiction texts the students began a project to make their own community examples. I assigned each team a type of community. First they had to brainstorm what their community would include. They were very creative. I heard all sorts of ideas from a farmer's market in a rural community to Dunkin Donuts in the suburbs, though that one may be because their teacher has a thing for iced decaf mochas ;).
After I approved their plans - I was the Community Manager (like a City Planner) I set the groups loose to make their community models. Each group got a large piece of butcher block paper and a variety of construction paper.
It took us 3 days to actually make the models. During Social Studies it looked like construction paper exploded in the classroom - it was a MESS!! I told myself to let my neat tendencies go for just a little bit and let them create! Definitely one of those moments when I remember that I was taught that "knowledge is socially constructed" in college.
Here are the finished products. They did such a great job and turned out really well!
Rural - Complete with a barn, farmer, and farm animals. Very cute!
Suburban - The large yellow part is an arena for sporting events and concerts. They also included a monster truck stadium. :)
Urban - Complete with an airport, city park with a pond, and my personal favorite - Old Navy! :)
After the projects were made I had the kids spend one day reflecting on their community. They filled out a community snapshot sheet where each group member wrote 2 sentences about their community and drew their favorite part. The following day they presented them to the class.