Lesson Plan:

Urban, Suburban, or Rural

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September 23, 2015
by Susan Russell

Learning Objectives

Students will identify and categorize the characteristics of rural, urban, and suburban communities


Introduction (15 minutes)

  • Begin your lesson by introducing the vocabulary words and discussing the definition of each term. Display pictures of each type of community.
  • Students’ background knowledge will impact their understanding of the terms. Start your introduction of the terms by selecting the term that identifies the type of community they live in.
  • After discussing the first term, continue discussing each vocabulary word as a whole group.
  • Ask for student input for each vocabulary word. All definitions should include the information that helps identify the community and explains where people work, live, and play within that community.
  • Check for understanding after all the vocabulary words have been reviewed and discussed.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)

  • Prior to the start of the lesson, create a three-circle Venn diagram that can be displayed where all students can see it. Label the circles with the following titles: urban, rural, and suburban
  • Ask for student input as you explore by comparison and contrasting how the three different communities (urban, rural, and suburban) are the same and different.
  • Fill out the circles and then use the diagram as an anchor chart in the classroom when completed.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Have students create a three-column T-chart on lined paper. Students will write the following headings above the columns: rural, urban, and suburban
  • Create the same three-column T-chart on chart paper. Place your chart in a spot that is visible to all students
  • Begin by asking for student input to add information to the columns regarding where people live, work, and play in each community.
  • Encourage students to make simple pictures on their charts to illustrate the different examples of each community.
  • Check for student understanding of the unique features of each community.

Independent Working Time (15 minutes)

  • Hand out a piece of white paper to each student.
  • Ask students to each draw a circle that has a diameter that is approximately four inches in the center of their paper.
  • Your students will be creating a diagram with the use of three circles to illustrate the aspects of each community type.
  • The circles will be within each other to demonstrate the progression from urban to rural.
  • Ask students to draw another circle that has a diameter of approximately three inches inside the first circle.
  • Have them draw another circle outside the first circle. This one should have a diameter of approximately 5 ½ inches.
  • Students should label the inner circle "urban," the middle circle "suburban," and the outer circle "rural."
  • Discuss with students how the progression from urban to suburban to rural occurs in communities.
  • Have students add words and phrases to each circle that describe how people live, work, and play within that specific community. They should also describe the type of transportation available in each community.
  • Collect papers once students have finished working.



Enrichment: Challenge advanced students by asking them to create a community of the future. They may select the type of community they are most interested in and then write about how it would look in the future. Encourage them to include illustrations of their futuristic communities. Support: Have struggling students work in pairs to complete the Independent Working Time activity.

Related Books and/or Media

BOOK: City Mouse, Country Mouse by John Wellner


Assessment (10 minutes)

  • Review students' work, and check for in-depth understanding of the dynamics of each community.
  • Provide written feedback for students on all papers.

Review and Closing (10 minutes)

  • Hand back students' work, and give the students time to read your feedback.
  • Ask for volunteers to share what they wrote with the class.
  • Review the definitions of the key terms.

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