2nd Grade New York

Urban, Suburban, and Rural

This inquiry leads students through an investigation of their communities as a way to deepen their understandings of the importance of place in general and the similarities and differences between different kinds of communities in particular. By investigating the compelling question “How would our lives be different if we lived in a different kind of community?” students learn that locations offer a range of experiences for the people who live there and that there are advantages and disadvantages of living in each kind of community. The distinctions among urban, suburban, and rural communities, however, are not hard and fast: Although population density, buildings, and green space typically vary across these kinds of communities, it is better to look at a collection of characteristics rather than a single factor when determining how a location might be characterized.


Compelling Question:

How Would Our Lives Be Different If We Lived in a Different Kind of Community?

Staging the Question:

Create individual or class brainstorm lists of how students’ lives might be different if they lived in a different place.

Supporting Question What makes a community urban, suburban, or rural?

Formative Task Create a class chart to compare and contrast characteristics of communities.

Sources Source A: New York State population map
Source B: Image bank: Urban, suburban, and rural communities


Supporting Question How are communities different and alike?

Formative Task Write a paragraph describing three characteristics of the local community that are similar or different from the comparison community.

Sources Source A: Teacher-gathered images of the students’ community and other communities


Supporting Question What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in urban, suburban, or rural communities?

Formative Task Create a class T-chart listing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of community.

Sources Source A: Image bank: Daily life in urban, suburban, and rural communities

Summative Performance Task

Argument: How would our lives be different if we lived in a different kind of community? Construct an argument that addresses the question of how peoples’ lives are affected by where they live.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Accomplished through Formative Tasks 1 and 2
Assess: Accomplished through Formative Task 3
Act: Select a different kind of location in New York State and create a pen pal experience (see, for example, https://penpalschools.com/) whereby students can compare and contrast aspects of their communities.