Early Settlers of a Community

3, 4, 5
Keywords & Concepts: 

Introduces students to "philanthropy" as an important aspect of their community's development and helps them recognize the relationship between community need and private action.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 45-Minute Class Session

The learner will:

  • create a Venn diagram comparing their community today with the early 1900's.
  • identify philanthropic efforts in the community in the early 1900's and today.
  • a social studies text describing a community at the turn of the century
  • information on the history of the local community
  • photographs and/or pictures of the local community at the turn of the century


  1. Display a Venn diagram with Title "Our Community" and labels "today" and "early 1900s." Introduce the idea of comparing and ask what youth already know. 

    Review definitions for the following terms:

    • transportation: what people use to travel from one place to another
    • history: the story of the past
    • settlers: persons who move to a new place to make a home
    • philanthropy: private action for the public good
  2. Read a social studies text or resource describing communities in the early 1900s.

    • Provide photographs or pictures and read early accounts of life in their own community. (A local museum may have a virtual site showing what your community was like at the turn of the 20th century.)
    • Discuss the following:
      • What might life have been like for the people of the community?
      • In what ways might people have had to depend on one another?
      • What needs did the people have at the turn of the century?
      • How might those needs have been met?
      • What types of volunteer organizations were there?
    • As a class, fill in the Venn diagram comparing the community at the turn of the century to what it is like today.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe the "characteristics of place" related to the school and neighborhood.