You will love this 3 in 1, all inclusive, yearlong unit. This is three Social Studies units together making one continuous yearlong project covering how the physical environment affects humans’ ability to work and play, what is in a community, what is important to have in a community, what are city run businesses and what are private run businesses, paying taxes, using money in a token economy, how to run your own business, and so much more.
This covers so many concepts. In the face of changing curriculum and varied learning outcomes in different areas, I’ve listed the concepts taught in plain, clear language that you can match to your outcomes. These units are also easily adaptable to grade level and specific learning outcomes.
I originally designed this at a grade 2/3 level, though it’s been done in grade 1 through grade 5. It can be adapted to any grade. The unit covers many topics which are guided by the teacher but the students personalize it by making many decisions along the way.
One of the key features of this unit is that it is all tied together by a storyline. Each lesson has a piece of the story. It is written as diary entries by a character that is acting as a guide to a group of explorers who set out to explore the wilderness and find a new location to build a community from scratch. This character leads us through all the aspects of the unit and the adventure.
There is also a “teacher script” to follow based on the story, so there is no guess work needed. The story acts as a kind of choose your own adventure; each lesson the students will make their own decisions which affects the outcome of the project. So while it is teacher guided, it is student directed. Every year the project comes out a little different.
It’s FUN!!! It’s fun for both the teacher and the students. It is hands down the most favorite thing I have taught- both for my students and myself. It has the feel of playing a game of life; I sometimes feel guilty with us having so much fun, but then I look at how much we have learned and I am amazed. The students have fun, they remember the lessons, and they apply what they have learned to real life. I’ve had parents come visit me and want to see what we are doing because their child has come home and asked about mortgages or taxes, they’ve said they have to practice their speech because they are running for town council, or they tell their parents they are busy coming up with a business plan. It sounds like heavy stuff, but in the context of the “game” it is fun and makes sense. Students will remember this project for years to come. I’ve had siblings come back and tell me they’ve told their brother or sister all about the town they will get to do with Mrs. Rogers and the siblings can’t wait.
Because it is open-ended and the students make decision as to what the next step will be, it becomes very personalized to that class and they buy into it more. It is a very hands-on project for the kids. They do a lot of partner work and group work. We start out together reading the story and sometimes brainstorming or voting, but then they will have lots of activities where they are working in small groups or with partners.
They get to “play” with some really cute paper people and can buy a license to drive/buy some cool cars that are included in the unit. There is also a firetruck, police car, bus, and plane included.
This unit is VERY organized. Everything is included and ready to go. You just have some photocopying and paper cutting to do. I give you a few lessons heads up so you know if you have to prepare something larger. The teacher script tells you exactly what you have to say to launch the lesson. Each lesson includes the concepts taught, the materials needed, a time frame, instructions, the story and a teacher script. It is all here ready to go.
Take the leap; give it a try and I guarantee you will love it!