Xtending the Unit

The virtual communities that are created by the class can be used in other units of study, creating an anchor that weaves through the curriculum. This list list includes some ideas:
  • Taxation:
    Services are expensive, but police, fire, education, and other services do not earn money to pay for themselves.  Start a conversation with the class about how each student's neighborhood is going afford the services they have.

  • Goods and Services:  
    The communities unit intentionally avoids the inclusion of goods and services, creating a teachable moment when uncovering the concept.  

    Have students investigate their maps to determine whether they have the services that a community needs.  Explain that students will be changing their maps to include or remove services, based on population.   Justify this because services are paid for by taxes and less people means less money.  For instance, 30 people in a community can justify a hospital, 5 people can afford a fire station or a police station, ect.  

    Students without enough people for a service can can discuss how the services of their communities will be met.  They should be encouraged to collaborate and share services.  Students with too many services will need to figure out which ones to remove.  Maps should be edited to account for the services that each neighborhood can afford.

  • Interdependence: 
    If you choose to include the neighborhood industries (listed as optional in lesson 25) you can use this as a framework to teach interdependence.  

    The industries were carefully chosen to be both authentic to the region and interdependent between community types (urban, suburban, rural.)  Students who have built one kind of community will need another to survive.  For instance, rural great lakes neighborhoods might have ranches, suburban neighborhoods might have meatpacking, and urban neighborhoods have shipping (and hungry people.)  

    If a team of teachers decide to build different regions (e.g.:  Great Lakes and Plains) you can demonstrate regional interdependence as well.