1. Brainstorm what defines a place.
Ask students to brainstorm what defines a place. Provide examples to get them started, such as:
- plant life
- animal life
Have students work in small groups to write their own lists. Then, invite groups to share their ideas and write a class list on the board.
2. Have students identify what defines your town as a place.
Ask students to think about what defines your town as a place. Have them use the discussion to add ideas to the original list. If needed, prompt them with questions, such as:
- Who lives here? What languages do they speak?
- Is the neighborhood in a city, suburb, or the country?
- What is the weather like? How cold or warm does it get? Does it rain much?
- What does the land look like? Are there mountains, lakes, or beaches nearby?
- What plants and animals live here?
3. Generate a class list of questions about place.
Have students share any questions they have about what defines a place or why it is important. Ask: What are you curious about? What would you like to know more about?
Subjects & Disciplines
- explain what defines a place
- identify what defines their town as a place
This activity targets the following skills:
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards
- Theme 3: People, Places, and Environments
National Geography Standards
- Standard 4: The physical and human characteristics of places
What You’ll Need
Materials You Provide
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Large-group instruction
A place is defined by its natural and human features. You can learn a lot about what defines a place by looking at your own community.
Recommended Prior Activities
characteristics of the environment created by human beings.
characteristic of a geographic region that was not created by humans.
area having unique physical and human characteristics.