Community Mapping

Children know their community through mapping and interviewing!

Photo of Sarah Swain
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Community mapping is a well-known exercise that is part of the Place-based Learning initiatives. Students in any grade can brainstorm their favorite places in a community and places that are well known. Putting these places on to a large map mural is a wonderful start to knowing their community. Take it one step further by having students interview a person who has lived in the town for a longer time than they have and ask what the community was like when that person was the students age. Embed these stories into the map mural and watch the map come alive as the students' understanding blooms. 


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Photo of James Campbell

Love this idea Sarah.  What steps do you plan next? Have you used story corps.  Your students (under 16)  can't be recorded but the community members can, it might make a great oral history.  

Photo of Garreth Heidt

Hi Sarah,  The interviews must provide wonderful opportunities for storytelling, either by the students or the actual community members.  If the former, you've a terrific opportunity for students to practice the authentic storytelling/oral history rendering that keeps our communities alive and vibrant.  We too often forget that communities, like institutions, can lose their way if the stories aren't passed on.  Many times, in small communities, this task is left to a very small group.  I hope your students will grow to become storytellers voicing their family's and community's histories forward.  It's a skill in demand beyond just what I've noted.  

But then, that could just be the English teacher in me.

Photo of Donna Teuber

Hi Sarah, Great mapping idea to engage students in learning more about their communities! I love that you ask students to conduct interviews to learn from the experiences of others in their community. What do students say about the interview experience?