What Makes Our Community Unique?

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Youth will develop a collaborative definition of "community" and realize the unique attributes of their community.

PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Sessions
  • define "community"
  • interview two community members and draft a written record of the interview
  • list the community's unique characteristics
  • Chart paper and marker
  • Notebooks and pencils


  1. Anticipatory Set: Display the word "community". Ask youth, "What does this word mean to you?"

  2. Begin a concept map as students supply their definitions of "community." Encourage students to develop a broad definition while asking:

    • Who does a community include?
    • What purposes does a community serve?
    • What services does a community provide its members?
    • What services can a member provide for the community?
  3. Write the name of the community on the board. Ask students, "Does our community fit the definition we have just developed?"

  4. Ask "What do you think makes our community unique? What makes this community different from other communities in the United States and around the world?" Encourage discussion. Youth should identify characteristics of their community.

  5. Youth are invited to interview two community members. Asking them, "What makes our community unique?" At least one of these people should be a non-family member, and it may help to interview people who have lived in the community a long time. Either verbatim or in their own words, created a written summary of the interview. 

  6. In the second session, ask for volunteers to share their interviews. On chart paper, begin to record phrases and unique attributes of the community as students share. Ask students to add to the list. Post the list for reference during the unit.

Cross Curriculum 

Read about the service-learning project called Bake, Take, and Make Connections by Shelbyville Middle School. Students first completed the What Is a Community? What Makes Our Community Unique? lesson.

Ms. Garrison is a 8th grade teacher at Shelbyville Middle School in Indiana. β€œI value service-learning because it is great to teach students the importance of giving back to their community,” said Garrison. β€œIt also helps students feel good about themselves. They feel like a valuable part of the community when they can contribute.”

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.7 Give examples of common resources in the community.