Map the Community

Planning for a community project can be fun or frustrating. The map-page (like collage only on a map) will help you take a careful look around so you can decide where to start on your project. Focus on your neighborhood, school district or town. First, divide your group into smaller groups of 4 to 6. Use one of these group forming ideas.

Using a large piece of butcher paper, each small group will make an illustrated map of their community, putting in roads & streets, buildings, bodies of water, parks, woods… At this stage, just mark the locations on the map. Then…

Introduce the idea of going on a journey around the neighborhood, taking photos with cell phones or digital cameras, collecting items along the way when appropriate. Say something like this–

A map is a special kind of picture of a community or area; there are landmarks that make each community unique. We’re going to take pictures of things in the neighborhood that we like, and things we don’t like as well. Each team will rotate the jobs of drawing, photographing, taking notes and collecting things that can be glued to the map-page. At the end of the walk, we’ll print photos and add items from the walk to the mappages.

After your walk, add items to the maps; Put yourselves into the maps by using–

  • photos
  • notes and drawings
  • items collected on the walk

When you finish your maps, take some time to process the experience by asking these “What happened?” “So what?” and “Now What?” Questions–

  • What happened on your hike around the neighborhood?
  • How did your team work together?
  • What new things did you learn about your community as you walked?
  • How did you feel while you were walking around the neighborhood?
  • What did you notice?
  • What did you like?
  • What didn’t you like?
  • Did the neighborhood remind you of anywhere else you’ve been?
  • How do you fit into the neighborhood?
  • What other places would you like to take this walk in?
  • What would you like to do for your community now that you’ve walked around?

Using their answers to “Now What”, create a list of ideas for your community project. Use an activity like backward planning or webbing to plan and take steps toward completing your projects.

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