In this challenge, students explore the many features of their community that are important to them. Introduce the topic of a family that is moving away using a story such as Alexander, Who's Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move. Ask students to identify the people, places, things (e.g., natural and cultural artifacts) and activities that the character in the story would miss if the family moves away. Next, invite students to brainstorm various features of their own community. To enhance appreciation for local community features, arrange for students to travel to several sites that they may not have previously encountered, including historic sites or other places of commemoration. As well, locate stories or books about people and places in the community and share these with students. You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Collecting Information (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
After developing criteria for determining importance (e.g., is unique to the community, is especially beautiful, interesting or fun, and adds to the community), invite students to pick three people, places, things and activities that they value. Finally, encourage students to select the one aspect from each category that they would miss most if their family had to move away. Ask students to draw a picture of their prized community feature and give reasons for their choice. You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Selecting the Best Thing (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Adapted from Contributing to Family and Community, edited by Mary Abbott, Roland Case and Jan Nicol (Richmond, BC: The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2002), 16.