Teachers at a Marquette, Michigan, professional development workshop in March 2003 created this model town as part of the lesson My Hometown. It is Lesson 1 from the grade K-4 Unit of the Journey through the Universe Education Module Are There Other Neighborhood Like Our Own? Searching for Abodes of Life in the Universe.
The lesson addresses the essential question: “What makes our neighborhood an abode of life, and might these conditions be present in other neighborhoods beyond our own?” Students critically think about what resources are needed for survival, and where these resources can be found. First, students define the essential resources needed for survival by considering themselves on an isolated island, far from the comfort and familiarity of their own neighborhood. Through discussion, they distinguish the non-essential needs—TV, refrigerator, car, etc.—from the essential—water, food, shelter (a reasonably comfortable environment), and air—and recognize tools that can be used to secure essential needs—sharp stick, fishing line, etc. They then build a three-dimensional model of their own neighborhood—their home and extended community—and identify where the essential resources are found.