My Place- Explorations in our community


Landmarks, events, traditions, and, of course, people all shape and define one community from another. Through this unit  we are going to take a closer look at our own community. Using social studies methods, student will select one of these features: a place, event, landmark etc. and explore the significance and impact they have on the community.Tasks specific to social studies instruction include engaging research methods to explore the history of this happening (using 5Ws and H), conducting interviews with local experts and individuals associated, and using photography to capture images that represent the selected place.

In a final culminating project, the class will create a visitor’s guide pamphlet highlighting these special happenings and how they help shape and define our community.

Social studies theme: people, places and environment

Established goals

  • CCSSW- Text types and purposes
    2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.  Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia
  • CCSSW- Research to build and present knowledge
    7.     Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate
  • EALR- Geography 3.1.2
    Identifies the location of places and regions in the world and understands their physical and cultural characteristics
  • EALR- Social studies 5.4.1
    Analyzes multiple factors, compares two groups, generalizes and connects past to present to formulate a thesis in a paper or presentation.
  • GLE- Technology 1.2.1
    Interact and collaborate with others using a variety of digital tools. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats


Students will understand that….

  • Landmarks, locations and areas develop over time, adapt to their surroundings (environment and people).
  • Landmarks and locations can have significant historical impact on a community.
  • Communities are socially constructed.

Students will know….

  • How to engage research methods to learn about the history of their area/place.
  • How to use technology and images to represent?

Essential Questions

  • What is the social significance of your place? What does this special area provide or contribute to the community?
  • What is community? What characteristics define a community?
  • What influences does this area have on the environment and the people who live here?Why is this area/place important for an individual to see and/or visit in order to get a better, more authentic understanding of our community?
  • Why is this area important to you?


As a class:
The class will combine all the presentations and gather them to create a visitors guide of the community; a hands on pamphlet that will be made to be available at city hall, visitors bureau and other local businesses that wish to carry it.
*Aimed at providing an authentic and genuine perspective as to what youth value and see as essential to visit to best understand the area.

visitors guide

Students will select an area or place in their community that is significant or of importance to them personally, such as a favorite place. They will use research methods to get an understanding of the history of the desired place and how it relates to and is an essential part to the greater community. They will transfer and present their knowledge on a collage/poster like piece that will be both presented to the class and used in the whole class visitor’s guide collection.

Students will use digital cameras

  • Check out from a class set, to take photos of their desired place.
  • These images will be used on the collage.
  • There needs to be at least two photos; one of the location or place that the students feels best exemplifies and captures the area.

image real

The other is a “selfie,” a portrait of the student in and engaging in an activity at their specific place. I call this the action selfie.


Students will engage in research to respond to the following prompts to connect to social studies theme for learning of “People, place and environments”:

1.Historical background:
when was this place created? Who were the individual responsible and/or integral for creating/constructing this place? What is the “story” or main details that led to this place being established?
2. Community connection
What?- what does this place provide for/to the community?
Why?- why is this place socially significant? Why should a visitor take time to visit and/or see this place?
How?- how is this place socially significant to the community?
Who?- who does this place benefit? Who utilizes this place the most? Who is most influenced by this place?
3. Future Thoughts:
Explain how this area has adapted or changed over time, think about environmental changes, population and other factors that may have shaped the place over time. Looking ahead, based on previous trends or events, describe how you envision this place ten years from now. Use detail, evidence from prior research to support your thoughts and vision.
4. My Connection
Explain your own personal connection to this place. Why do you appreciate and value this place? How does it help define your understanding of community?

Other Evidence (aside from collage and written work included):

  • Students will keep a research notebook, listing key words used, tracking websites (bibliography), and other details/notes from their online research.
  • Participation and roles in small group and large group discussions, workshops.
  • Pre-unit reflection and post- unit reflection where students will share insights and change (if any) in understandings of the concepts explored such as community, change, place, people. environment etc.

Technology Description
Students will be working with a digital camera to help them both provide imagery of this place and to help them to process what is noteworthy about it and capture this in an image. The learning objectives revolve around students being able to understand how people, places and environment develop over time, how community is a socially constructed concept based on these three characteristics. Students will engage in research and use writing to help express how their chosen place/event has contributed to the community. Images are another way to express this. This will allow students to really process and consider the connection their place has to community by working to capture the best image that exemplifies this. I anticipate not only instructing students on how to use such technology but how to “capture” an image. I could model with different works, engage in different photography workshops, and hold seminars, where we look at different images and disucss their meaning/interpretation based on what is shown.

References for teachers
Photography, camera curriculum

Exploring community in the classroom

Guidelines for conducting online research

Impact of community involvement in schools- see pg. 112


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *