Elementary English Language Arts, Society and Culture
Material Type:
Lesson, Lesson Plan
Upper Elementary
  • Lesson Plan
  • uol3-5
  • uolela
  • uolsocialstudies
  • uosl
    Public Domain Dedication
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Communities and Their Environment

    Communities and Their Environment


    In this lesson students will write a research report about communities and how they use their environment. Students will use CultureGrams from the Utah's Online Library to complete their research. 

    Main Thumbnail was found at: "The group of children, 1909" by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit


    This lesson will take 4 weeks 30-45 minutes each week. We will be doing most of this in class with some outside class if students do not finish in class. You will need access to Utah's Online School Library to utilize CultreGrams. This is an original lesson plan by myself Kelly Hofeling.

    Background for Teachers

    To teach this lesson you will need an understand of Utah's Online Library (formerly Utah's Online School Library) and how to navigate and log in to use CultureGrams.

    You will need to have a list of countries around the world for students to pick from to complete this lesson. 

    CultureGrams is listed under Elementary Reference Collection.

    You will need to familiarize yourself with CultureGrams World Edition and the various tabs from the table of contents on the left side of the screen. There ar also pictures of countries students may use for their final report.

    I will be utilizing the attached outline for students to use to organize their report and help write their report before turning in their final report to me


    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes


    Learning Intentions:

    • Students will be able to identify and explain in a written report how an enviroment affects a community's development.

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will turn in an expository report on their community identifying and explaining the relationship between environment and community development.
    • Students will turn in their report outline before their final report to show their writing process.


    Social Studies Standard 2
    Students will understand cultural factors that shape a community.

    Objective 1
    Evaluate key factors that determine how a community develops.

    1. Identify and explain the interrelationship of the environment (e.g. location, natural resources, climate) and community development (e.g. food, shelter, clothing, industries, markets, recreation, artistic creations).

    ELA Grade 3 Writing (3.W)
    Students will learn to write for a variety of tasks, purposes, and audiences using appropriate grammar/conventions, syntax, and style.

    Standard 3.W.2:
    Write informative/explanatory pieces to examine a topic that conveys ideas and information clearly, link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases, and provide a concluding statement.

    1. Introduce and develop a topic using facts, definitions, details, and group related information and graphics together.
    2. Write, produce, and expand simple, compound, and complex sentences.
    3. Use appropriate conventions when writing including text cohesion, sentence structure, and phrasing.

    Standard 3.W.4:
    Conduct short research projects to build knowledge about a topic.

    1. Recall and gather relevant information from one or more sources and provide brief notes to demonstrate understanding of the topic.

    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge


    • Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of Utah's Online Library and how to navigate to CultureGrams and the different areas.
    • We will spend some time looking through different parts of the World Edition section so students will be able to navigate the website with minimal help from the teacher.

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    • Sentence starters for delayed learner
    • More than 5 paragraphs for advanced learners
    • Power point instead of written paper

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    Beginning the lesson we will go over what communities are. We will then go look around CultureGrams World Edition together. I will then go over the rubric that the reports will be graded on.We will go over what is needed to write the report (location, natural resources, climate, food, shelter, clothing, industries, markets, recreation, artistic creations) and also the writing assignment rubric. After going over what the expectations are I will have the students pick their countries. Students will then get their computers and get started on the research portion of their assignment. I will pass out the outline and the research report. The students will then get time every week to research and write their report. The first 2 weeks will be researching and the next two will be focused on writing the report or completing the power point. I will walk around the class helping individual students stay on track and help with what questions they have.


    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments

    An attached rubric for the final project is included. The rubric will be gone over before writing begins. The written report will be used to assess what the students know about communities and their environments. If students feel like they can make a power point better than writing a report they will have that option but they will still use the report outline to help them gather information for their power point.