First, write the word
on the board. Ask students if they have any ideas about how asociety is the same as a community and how it is different. Both communities and soci-eties include groups of people. Indeed, sometimes people use these terms as synonyms.However, typically communities represent smaller groups of people. You would not usu-ally refer to a class or a school or even Memphis as a society but you would call all of these groups communities. On the other hand, the United States or the Mayan Empire ismore often identified as a society rather than as a community. Because societies are justlarge communities, everything that students have learned about communities applies tothe societies they will be studying in world history. You could also take a few moments tobrainstorm other words people use to describe the large communities you will be study-ing. Terms like
may come to mind.In the main activity, students used their description of Memphis to generate broad cate-gories representing some of the key factors that shape communities. Have students sharethe main categories they created. As they name a category, write it on the board or on alarge piece of paper, grouping related categories such as geography and physical character-istics. Inform students that when they look at societies from around the world they willbe studying the same factors.
Curriculum connections: Elements that make up societies include the following: geography, government, religion/values, economics/trade, arts/entertainment, education, science/technology,and social structure. The images selected of Memphis allude to these factors that shape a com- munity. You can keep a list of these categories on the wall as a tool for students to use when describing and analyzing the societies they will study throughout the school year.
Communities and societies change over time. Indeed, exploring how societies developand why they decline is often a central theme of a world history course. To introduce stu-dents to the idea that societies change, ask them to create a list of the ways Memphis haschanged over time. Challenge groups to come up with one change for each of the cate-gories listed on the board. As an extension question, ask students to guess why or how these changes took place. Students can add their ideas about how Memphis has changedto their identity charts of the city.
Students can add to their identity charts of Memphis. They can gather new informationabout their community by talking to their parents, neighbors, or other community mem-bers, or by doing research on the Internet. Students can more easily compare data if they use the same interview questions. Here are some interview questions related to the con-cepts of membership, community, and belonging that students will be exploring in thenext lesson:
· What are important or defining moments in the history of Memphis?· What is an example of a moment when you feel that the residents of Memphiscame together as a community around shared goals?· What is an example of a time when you feel that the Memphis community wasdivided?· How would you describe Memphis to others?
In addition to these questions, students can contribute their own interview questions.