Exploring Your Community


The purpose of this unit is to help you get to know your community better. All communities have certain social, economic, physical, environmental, and governmental features. In exploring your community, you will learn what it is that makes your community unique and what can be done to make it a better place to live.

  1. Take a "mental" walk from your home to school. What things do you see? Of the things you “see,” how many have to do with local government?
  2. Next, with your class or parent/guardian, go on an actual field trip in the neighborhood around your school. Videotape parts of your field trip.  As you take your field trip, ask these questions: Who lives there? (Are there families with children? Are there"singles?" Is the neighborhood racially mixed?) How do people travel around the neighborhood (walk, car, bus, bike, other)? Where do people go for entertainment? Where do people work? What kinds of places and services exist (such as health facilities, day care centers, senior citizen centers, parks, libraries, businesses)? What signs examples of local government do you see?
  3. Create a Resource Book, Collage, or Video to tell others about your community.
  4. Find out about the functions of local government. What are the email addresses and phone numbers for local government offices in your city or county? (You can access this information by going to your city or county’s website.) (Police and fire protection o Sanitation o Education o Streets and sidewalks o Financial operations o Health o Welfare o Planning and zoning o Traffic and parking)
  5. In order to learn more about your city and county, locate the following information and share with your classmates.  (You can access this information by going to your city or county’s website.)
    • the history and growth of your community and/or county
    • the population, size and make-up o major plots of land and businesses, organizations, and institutions that occupy these plots
    • the city charter
    • the budget revenues and expenditures o organizational chart showing the positions of elected and appointed officials;
    • job descriptions;
    • job requirements;
    • the names and backgrounds of the people currently occupying these positions
    • current services provided
    • recent census reports and population trends
    • the planning department's map of the community
    • minutes from your local government's council meetings
    • a schedule of upcoming public meetings