Communities have formed since the earliest of times. Communities are a group of people with a shared identity and they are formed as a source of protection, for acceptance, help, and companionship. Teaching the key elements of community and cultural practices is a critical component of a high-quality social studies education. As an elementary teacher, I know that covering all of the key components can be a bit daunting, especially if you are provided few materials. That's why I've created a comprehensive Communities Around the World Virtual Field Trip that's low prep, but interactive to bring learning to life.
I've organized this virtual tour in a way that moves through the key concepts in a format that makes the most sense for our 3rd-5th grade learners. Here are some of the key concepts covered in this trip:
Geographic regions have unifying characteristics and can be studied using a variety of tools.
The location of world communities can be described using geographic tools and vocabulary.
Geographic factors often influence where people settle and form communities. People adapt to and modify their environment in different ways to meet their needs.
Each community or culture has a unique history, including heroic figures, traditions, and holidays.
Communities share cultural similarities and differences across the world.
Communities from around the world interact with other people and communities and exchange cultural ideas and practices.
Governments in communities and countries around the world have the authority to make and the power to enforce laws. The role of the citizen within these communities or countries varies across different types of governments.
The concept of universal human rights suggests that all people should be treated fairly and should have the opportunity to meet their basic needs.
Ok, so that's a lot.
But don't worry. I've got it all organized and ready for you.
What is a Community?
This virtual field trip begins with looking at the characteristics of a community, the 5 types of communities, and the 3 types of physical structural types that make up a community. Your students will have an opportunity to look at the characteristics of their own community using Google Earth.
From here, your students will learn about and analyze 7 different communities and cultural practices around the world. Each location includes Google Earth links, video clips, and informational text.
1. South America (Yanomami)
In this section of the trip, your students will learn about the hunting and gathering way of life of the Yanomami people. They will analyze the societal structure, and will learn about the language and importance of spirituality. As well, your students will learn about the impact of outside contact and the threats from deforestation.
2. The Arctic (Sámi)
Your students will learn about the traditional nomadic ways of life of the Sámi people. In this section, your students will gain an understanding of the importance of spirituality, and will tour a reconstructed traditional home using Google Earth. As well, this trip covers the impact of outside conflict and modernization as well as the Sámi anthem and significance of the flag.
3. South Africa (Zulu)
In this section of the virtual field trip, your students will learn about some of the geographic features of South Africa, the history of colonization, apartheid and Nelson Mandela. This trip also looks at the impact of housing zones today. As well, your students will learn about the the KwaZulu-Natal climate and landscape, the Zulu way of life from homes, societal structure, clothing, dancing, stick fighting and spirituality.
4. Scotland (Ecovillage)
We often forget that communities come in many different forms. In this section of the virtual field trip, your students will learn about an Ecovillage in Scotland. They will explore sustainable community living, learn about the Ecovillage structure, and ways of life (shared facilities, eco-friendly living). This section also addresses some of the misconceptions about sustainable living.
5. Middle East (22 Arab Nations)
In the Arab world there is a shared common linguistic and cultural heritage, but there are great differences in political and religious beliefs. Your students will learn about the geographic factors of the 22 Arab nations. This section also addresses culture and common misconceptions. Your students will also analyze the significance of family, food, and celebrations, and will learn about clothing, in particular the keffiyeh.
6. Australia (Aboriginal peoples)
Your students will travel to Oceania to Australia. In this section, yours students will gain a better understanding of geographic factors and climate, and will learn about the first inhabitants of Australia, ways of life and outside contact. Your students will also travel to the Great Victoria tot visit Uluru (Ayers Rock) to learn about the spiritual significance for Aboriginal people.
The final destination is Japan. In this section, your students will come to understand how the geography and population impact how and where people live. Your students will tour a traditional Japanese home, learn about customs, holidays, spirituality, and cuisine.
Ready to Go with Critical Thinking Questions
The trip includes critical thinking response questions throughout to spark curiosity, keep students engaged, and go deeper.
This virtual field trip is ready.to.go! Yes. Done. Just open the trip and begin. It's self-paced so it could be done whole group, or you could assign the trip within Google Classroom or another LMS. And if you are looking for sub plans, this trip is a great option!
Get your prep time back, and have peace of mind knowing that your students will gain a broader and deeper understanding of the world around them.
Check out the entire resource here: Communities Around the World Virtual Field Trip