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Community History

If you are looking for a new way to interest kids in history try getting to know your own community. There is always something interesting to do or learn, even in the smallest town or village. Here is a fun mini unit designed to help you implement this idea.

1. Locate an early map of your town or area and compare it with a present-day map. Look for areas that have remained the same and those that have changed.

2. Visit an old graveyard. Begin a list of unusual first and/or last names found on the early tombstones. Are any of these names in a local history of your town? Are any of these names in the current phone book for your area?

3. Visit a local historical society site, museum, home, or ship. What did you enjoy about the tour? How would you make it different? Name several pieces of information that you learned that you did not know before.

4. Preserve one or more buildings with pictures or photographs. Make a display of your photographs.

5. Plan a guided walking tour of your town. Remember to include places of interest. Create a map/brochure for your guided walking tour.

6. Plan a bike tour of your area. Figure out the interesting, beautiful, and/or unusual things to see along the way.

7. Explore the richness of the many peoples of your community or county by visiting the library, historical society, town or city hall, places of worship, museums, state or county fairs, restaurants, delicatessens, bakeries, and/or specialty stores.

8. Find out about the unique contributions made to your community by individuals and/or groups of people.

9. What does your community produce or provide that other parts of the country would miss if your community disappeared overnight? What do other communities or other parts of the world produce that you could not go without? Think of the many products or services originating in your community and those which must come from outside. Design a display to tell about everyone's interdependence.

10. Prepare an advertisement for newspapers, magazines, radio, or television to attract someone your age to move to your community. Include things you enjoy seeing and doing that someone else might like as well.

11. Find a way to show others the rich variety among people in your community and/or the surrounding area.

12. Find out about the local/regional food heritage for your area. Locate recipes or cookbooks from your public library, historical society, restaurants, delicatessens, women's groups, newspapers, or longtime residents. Draw up menus for two meals using traditional foods of the area.

13. Begin a collection of local/regional food recipes.

14. Prepare at least one local/regional food specialty from the recipes that you have collected.

15. Make a map of your local area indicating on it all the community services found there.

16. Visit a center that provides free or inexpensive resources and/or services to your community.

17. What plans are being made for future changes in your community: new buildings, schools, playgrounds, roads, etc.?
As a representative of your local government, newspaper, or citizens' group what changes are being proposed.
Talk to someone else you know to find out how they feel about the possible changes, especially a long time resident of the area being affected.
Decide how you feel about some of your community's plans for the future. Be able to explain the reasons for your opinions.

18. Imagine you are the mayor or other town/city official and prepare a list of several things you want to see changed and improved in your community.

19. By yourself, or with a group, figure out something to do for your neighborhood or community, its people, building, or grounds. Spend at least two hours on completing your neighborhood action project.

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