Design a Community Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to discuss the makeup and designs of communities. Then, they will apply their ideas to their own mock-up of a fictional community.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the ways that communities use and allocate space.
  • Discuss the various features of a community and how they interact.
  • Apply their ideas about communities into a realistic model.


45-60 minutes (possibility of two classes)

Curriculum Standards


Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.


  • Slide show of diverse city plans and maps
  • Drafting paper or other kind of blank paper
  • Pens, pencils
  • Straight edges, compasses (optional)


  • Project plans or maps of various cities around the world. Try to include some modern cities, like Chicago, as well as older ones, like Rome or Paris. It may also be a good idea to show some dense cities versus smaller, suburban or rural ones, as well as to show images from your state.
  • As you go through the images, ask students to pay attention to the layouts.
    • What sort of designs do we see here?
    • How have urban planners throughout history organized communities?
    • How do streets, buildings, public spaces, and other features define the community?
    • Are all communities meant to encourage interaction and mobility? Can communities be designed to segregate, marginalize, or separate people?
  • Ask students to brainstorm all of the things you would find in a community. What features define this artificial landscape? What sorts of buildings or utilities does a relatively self-sustaining community require? How do the various parts of a community interact? Write students' answers on the board.

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