Community Heritage

K, 1, 2

The purpose of the lesson is to introduce students to the ways in which cultural groups meet their needs within a community in the past and present.

Note: This lesson also includes some Spanish Standards.

Lesson Rating 
PrintSeven Thirty-Minute Class Periods, Plus a Service Project

The learner will:

  • identify the reasons his/her own family came to live in the United States and, in particular, the local area.
  • discuss the reasons why the representative cultural groups came to the area.
  • identify the major ethnic groups within the community.
  • meet a local Hispanic activist or other cultural group representative and discuss current issues.
  • participate in a student to student mentor-ship with children in a local preschool.
  • Student copies of de donde somos la familia (Attachment One)
  • Student copies of Attachment Two: ¿Porqué estamos aquí? (Why are we here?)—A Graphic Organizer
  • An enlarged copy of Attachment Two on chart paper
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Student copies of Attachment Three: Field Trip Notes: Nonprofit Organization
  • Envelopes, stamps and letter paper
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: The students will complete a worksheet for homework in which they ask their parents why the family ancestors came to the United States and why they settled in the area. (See Attachment One: de donde somos la familia) Students demonstrate their understanding of the purpose of their tour by completing as homework Attachment Three: Field Trip Notes: Nonprofit Organization.


None for this lesson.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Tell the class why your family moved to the United States and from where. Tell them also why you live in the local area. Share a personal story from when your ancestors moved here, if possible.

  2. Tell the students that the class is going to be looking at reasons people moved to this area. First, they need to interview their families about their own reasons for living in the area.

  3. Give the students their homework Attachment One: de donde somos la familia. Tell the students to complete it tonight and return it to class for the next meeting day. (Teacher Note: The homework is in Spanish and English.)

  4. Encourage students to ask their families for personal stories and more elaborate answers to the questions about their family heritage. They may write more on the back of the homework or even bring in extra papers.

  5. Day Two:

  6. Students will need their completed homework Attachment One: de donde somos la familia. Put the students in small groups and have them each share their homework. As they listen to each other, they compile the data from their group members on Attachment Two: ¿Porqué estamos aquí? (Why are we here?)—A Graphic Organizer.

  7. When everyone has shared in the group, the students should compare the data they collected on the graphic organizers to make sure they all have the same data. The small groups should discuss the data collected using the questions at the bottom of the attachment as a guide.

  8. After a predetermined time period, have a representative from each group record their group’s data on the large graphic organizer on the chart paper.

  9. Discuss the outcomes with the students. Ask the following types of questions:

    1. What are the main reasons the families in this class came to the United States?
    2. What families already lived in the United States?
    3. Did the people from the same cultural groups come here for the same reasons?
    4. Can you think of any other reasons people may move here? (Be sure to write these responses on the chart paper.)
    5. What do you think our ancestors needed when they arrived in the United States? (Make a list of needs.)
    6. What problems did they encounter?
    7. Were there any organizations or individuals who were very helpful?

    Day Three:

  10. Prior to this day, organize a trip to (and tour of) a local Hispanic community center (or other cultural group representative of the area). Give the tour leader a copy of Attachment Three: Field Trip Notes: Nonprofit Organization so he or she will know what information to cover in the tour.

  11. Stress to the students that they are there to learn about the focus of that particular community center and how it meets the needs of the people it represents.

  12. For homework after the tour, give the students a copy of Attachment Three: Field Trip Notes: Nonprofit Organization. They should complete as much as they can remember and look in the phone book for the address and phone number of the facility.

  13. Day Four:

  14. Ask students what they learned about the community center, the people who work there and the people it services. Ask them to list what the organization was doing for the common good of the community—what needs are they meeting for the cultural group and for the entire community.

  15. Have students write a draft letter, thanking the facilitator for the tour and restating what the center was doing for the community. Students use age-appropriate writing mechanics and follow the writing process through editing and revision.

  16. Have students rewrite their edited letters on letter paper and address the envelope.


Students will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate their understanding of philanthropic concepts in the story cards and the letter.

Cross Curriculum 

The students will make a connection with a Hispanic (or other cultural group) social agency or multi-cultural Head Start, preschool or daycare facility. They will find out the needs of the organization and make a plan to give time, talent or treasure to that agency.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Identify lack of religious, economic, or political freedom as a motivating factor for migration to a new country.