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Would you like to visit your local site?


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Nifty Neighborhood

What is a community? One way to view a community is to create a map of a town, neighborhood, or region. Draw maps of different kinds of communities using Crayola® Dry-Erase Crayons while you practice following directions.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Talk about how mapmakers create maps of communities. Review the parts of a map, including the compass rose that shows us the directions on the map. Discuss how mapmakers show roads, paths, buildings, bodies of water, etc. from a bird’s eye view. Demonstrate how to draw these things using a Crayola® Dry-Erase Crayon on a dry-erase board.
    2. Provide dry-erase crayons and individual dry-erase boards for students to use to create maps. Tell students that they will be following your directions to create nifty neighborhood maps. As long as they follow the direction exactly as they are given, their maps will be correct, although they may not look just like everyone else’s maps.
    3. Begin by asking children to draw a compass rose to show the directions on their maps. Then give directions for children to add roads, paths, buildings, parks, etc.
    4. For example: • Draw a road that goes all the way around the community. • Draw another road that travels north and south through the community. • Draw a road that travels east and west through the community. • Draw a school in the northeastern part of the community. • Draw a park in the northwestern part of the community. • Draw a river traveling through the community. Add bridges for people to be able to cross the river. After completing the maps, invite children to compare and contrast their artwork. How are the maps similar? How is each map unique? What would it be like to live in a community like this? Where would you like to live in this community?
  • Standards

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual’s daily life and personal choices.

    SS: Construct and use mental maps of locales, regions, and the world that demonstrate understanding of relative location, direction, size, and shape.

    SS: Interpret, use, and distinguish various representations of the earth, such as maps, globes, and photographs.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    Expand upon the concept of “community.” A community is a group of people living together in one geographic space. Display images to help children begin to acquire a sense of place. For example, display a photo of the planet earth and satellite images or maps of the western hemisphere, North America, your country, state, county, town/region, and school neighborhood. Invite children to share what they see, what they know, and what they wonder about. Talk about how each image shows evidence of a community.

    Repeat this activity several times. Each time give different directions that will lead to a variety of community maps, including urban, rural, and suburban neighborhoods. Invite children to write descriptive sentences about each community they create.

    Display one or more city neighborhood map art posters. Invite children to look artfully at these visuals. Begin by simply asking children to share what they notice about the images. Allow children to look very closely at the image to discover colors and shapes and words in the map design. Provide paper and allow children to create their own artwork inspired by these posters.

    Share Sarah Fanelli’s My Map Book with students. Take a walk around the school neighborhood to gather information about the community. Capture what you see with a camera, allowing children to determine what they think should be photographed. Print out photos for students to refer to as they create maps of the school community using dry-erase crayons on individual dry-erase boards. Or students might work cooperatively to create large maps on a wall dry-erase board. Use these maps as a plan for building a model community in your classroom using cereal boxes and shoe boxes for buildings and recycled items and craft supplies for other features.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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