Neighborhood and Community Unit
Focus on North Logan, Utah
The expanding horizons curriculum in elementary social studies usually includes the study of neighborhood and community at the second and third grades. The following unit provides background information and lesson plans for teaching about neighborhood and community in any school, but is especially useful for teachers in North Logan, Utah because it includes historical information specific to our community. The lessons include a variety of activities, from whole group to individual projects. The activities are meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active (Brophy and Alleman, 44-48.)
Grade levels: 2-3
Author: Sylvia Read
Go to Lesson One: Mapping Our Neighborhood
Go to Lesson Two: Our Neighborhood in the Past and Long Ago
Go to Lesson Three: Neighborhoods and Communities in Other Countries
Go to Lesson Four: How Technology Has Affected Neighborhoods
Using students' immediate personal experience, we will explore geographic concepts and skills. We will also look at our neighborhood in the past to see how it has changed and why. We will examine how neighborhoods look in other cultures, primary by comparing homes, schools, and shopping areas in other cultures with our homes, schools, and shopping areas.
The NCSS Curriculum Standards for the Social Studies identifies the following goals that are related to the study of neighborhood and community. Students will be able to:
a. explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns;
d. compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions;
Standard II-Time, Continuity, and Change
b. demonstrate an ability to use correctly vocabulary associated with time such as past, present, future, and long ago; read and construct simple timelines; identify examples of change; and recognize examples of cause and effect relationships;
d. identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others;
Standard III-People, Places, and Environments
c. use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools such as atlases, data bases, grid systems, charts, graphs, and maps to generate, manipulate, and interpret information;
g. describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like;
Standard IV-Individual Development and Identity
b.describe personal connections to place--especially place as associated with immediate surroundings;
Standard V-Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
c. identify examples of institutions and describe the interactions of people with institutions;
Standard VIII-Science, Technology, and Society
a. identify and describe examples in which science and technology have changed the lives of people, such as in homemaking, childcare, work, transportation, and communication.
History of North Logan, Utah
In 1879, North Logan was mostly sagebrush, part of a dry desert, not farmland and subdivisions as it is now, in 1997. There were no canals for irrigation as there are now.
In 1878, Ralph Smith, Thomas Smith, his son, Hyrum Maughan and Julius Johnson filed for homesteads on two quarter sections, 80 acres each. They lived in Logan, but farmed the land.
Ralph Smith was the first to build a house. His house was made of rock hauled from Green Canyon and cost $1000. The walls of the house were 18 inches thick. His family moved into it on March 17, 1884.
By 1990, there were sixteen families living in North Logan. The town was originally called Greenville, but it was discovered that another town in Utah was already named Greenville, so to avoid confusion, the town name was changed to North Logan.
The first school began in 1889 when Elizabeth Palmer announced that she would teach young children in her home. The families paid for each child to attend her school where they learned to sew, crochet, knit and mend as well as to read, write and do arithmetic. Pencils, paper or slates were furnished by the parents. Elizabeth Palmer's home was small, only two rooms. School was held in her kitchen. Furniture was rearranged every day to make room for the school benches.
Mary Ann Maughan Beutler recalls,Our subjects were reading, writing, and arithmetic and spelling. There were about seven or eight students which were the youngest children of the families. The older boys rode horses to a school held at Logan 5th ward. Sister Palmer was a very lovely singer and she taught the children to sing.
Before we began our work each day, Sister Palmer would have us sing and have prayer. Sometimes at noon hour Sister Palmer would teach us to play games, and when there was time in between class work she would teach us to knit and crochet, and do other fancy work. She always kept us busy (Nyman & Gilgen 125).
In 1890 a log cabin was built and Mary A Baker became the teacher. A long bench with arm rests was used for the students' desks.
Later in 1890, a meeting house was built and school began meeting in the new building on November 24, 1890. The building was 16 feet wide and 32 feet long.
In 1898 the town decided to build a separate school house. A one room brick school house was built and Andrea Reed taught alone a few months until they realized she could not teach so many students and so many subjects all by herself. At first a heavy curtain across the center of the room divided the group in two, but in 1904 another room was added made of white brick with red trim, and a rock foundation, with double doors at the entrance. A hall divided the two rooms. Each room was heated with a large black wood stove.
The children like to play baseball, football, volleyball, single rounders (which is played with a ball made from an unraveled knitted wool), tops, and marbles. The children also swung on a gate and climbed trees.
Each winter the school had a sleigh ride party. The ride took students to see the Christmas displays in Logan and ended at the school where the children had hot chocolate, kept warm on the tops of the big heating stoves.
Hattie Christensen Swenson recalls (Nyman & Gilgen 128):We had to create our own fun by playing chase, marble, tops and jump the rope. On May Day we always took a walk to Green Canyon, and had a holiday program. For our drinking water, the boys took a large bucket across the street to Fergusons well. They would set it on a small table in the hall. We all drank from the same tin cup. We had hard winters and very cold. Often the top of the water was covered with ice. The cup became battered out of shape from trying to break the ice with it. None of us were ever ill. Our lunches consisted of honey, or molasses on bread. Sometimes an egg sandwich. Often in winter they were frozen hard. We didn't have wax paper to wrap our lunches with, only very seldom we had paper sacks. We usually wrapped our lunches in newspapers. We had outside toilets. In the winter the snow was deep and no paths were made so we had to wade waist deep in snow to get to them.
North Logan gradually grew. By 1905 there were 45 families and 250 people. Telephone service was installed in 1911 and electricity in 1912. As the population grew, the school was added onto a few rooms at a time. Hot lunches began being served in 1919. In 1925 the school was expanded again and restrooms were added and a library was organized. A standard sized gymnasium was added in 1940. The basement held a dining room, kitchen and restrooms. Eventually, this school became quite crowded. In 1965, North Park School was built. It became crowded as well and a new school, called Greenville Elementary after the original name of North Logan, was built to accommodate the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. Kindergarten through second grades remained at North Park School. North Park has also been added onto many times, most recently in 1996, when four new kindergarten classrooms were built.
Population Growth of North Logan
Houses in the Past and Today
Settlers' homes were often log cabins. Log cabins are not native to America, but date back to Swedish and German immigrants who built them here, patterning them after the buildings they had lived in in their old countries. Swedish log cabins were made of round logs, notched at the ends and stacked on one another. German log cabins were made of square timbers and the corners were sawn off so they would look neat. The spaces between the logs were filled with woods and mud, clay, or lime mortar. A settler could build a house by himself with only an ax, but the work was easier if there were neighbors to help stack the logs. Cabin roofs were made of boards or shingles that overlapped. Windows were covered with animal skins or greased paper so inside the cabin was dim. Most cabins started out with a dirt floor, packed down hard. Later settlers could add wooden flooring. At first the door to the cabin would be covered with a quilt or animal hide. Later, it could be replaced with a wooden door with leather or iron hinges.
In places where trees were scarce, settlers' homes were made from sod. The house could be dug out from the side of the hill and the front covered with sod "bricks" cut from the soil or an entire house could be constructed from sod "bricks." Sod is matted soil, grass, and roots cut out of the ground in the shape of bricks. A sod house was dark but warm. Mice, snakes and insects were impossible to keep out. The dirt floor had to be keep moist to keep down the dust.
Settlers kept a fire going all the time to provide heat for cooking and light for seeing in the dark. They cooked in a fireplace using an iron pot hanging over the fire or a frying pan on stilts with a very long handle (called a "spider"). They grew a lot of their own vegetables and grains and hunted for meat. Corn was eaten in many forms because it was filling and easy to store through the winter.
Today our homes are made with a wide variety of materials. Some homes are wood, brick, or stucco. Others are covered on the outside with metal or vinyl siding. Our windows are made of glass, which lets in lots of light. Our floors are wood or carpet or tile. We have many modern conveniences that early settlers did not have such as indoor plumbing, electricity, appliances like refrigerators and stoves, telephones, televisions, and computers.
Neighborhoods and Communities in Other Cultures
Neighborhoods and communities around the world can be classified as rural, urban, or suburban. Rural communities are often called villages or towns. Urban communities are in cities and may be defined by ethnic groups who live in a particular area or defined geographically by streets. Suburban communities are usually near a big city.
Villages can be small clusters or homes or thousands of inhabitants. Many villages have a central square where people gather in the evening and where markets are held in the day. On the outskirts of the villages are the farms that are run by the villagers. Most villages do not have indoor plumbing or electricity.
In the city, streets are busy and noisy places full of people and cars and in some countries, animals, street vendors and street performers. Cities provide many types of entertainment: movies, sports, museums, and restaurants.
Cities also have slum areas where people live in run-down housing or shacks. Cities also have street people or homeless people who sleep beside buildings or in alleys. Those who live in slums or shacks or who are homeless do not have modern conveniences like indoor bathrooms and electricity.
Wealthier people in cities live in modern apartments with electricity, gas stoves and central heating. These people have jobs, send their children to schools and have a family car.
Because of overcrowding in big cities, they often have lots of pollution from all the cars and factories.
Bial, R. (1993). Frontier Home. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Brophy, J. & Alleman, J. (1996). Powerful Social Studies for Elementary Students. New York: Harcourt Brace.
Gray, N. & Dupasquie, P. (1988). A Country Far Away. New York: Orchard Books.
Kalman, B. (1994). A One-Room School. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company.
Kalman, B. (1989). China, the People. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company.
Kalman, B. (1990). India, the People. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company.
Kalman, B.(1993). Mexico, the People. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company.
Kalman, B. (1994). Peru, the People and the Culture. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company.
Nyman, L. T. & Gilgen, V. K. (Eds.). (undated). Miscellaneous Papers on the History of North Logan, Utah, 1885-1959. Mimeographed document. (Available in Logan City Library Archives or North Park Media Center).
Scholastic. (1977). Pioneer Life on the American Prairie: A Frontier Album. New York: Scholastic Publishing.
Williams, K. L. & Stock, C. (1990). Galimoto. New York: Mulberry Books.
Internet Resources for Teaching the Social Studies
National Council for the Social Studies
National Geographic Society
Lesson One-Mapping Our Neighborhood
The learner will be able to:
use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools such as atlases, data bases, grid systems, charts, graphs, and maps to generate, manipulate, and interpret information;
identify examples of institutions and describe the interactions of people with institutions;
describe personal connections to place--especially place as associated with immediate surroundings.
Using their home address, the students will find and mark the location of their home on a large, bulletin board-sized map of North Logan and Hyde Park. This can be made by enlarging a map of your local community using a photocopier, or having it enlarged at a copy place. The students can use pins with small flags attached to mark their homes. Each flag could bear each student's name.
As a class, we will look up the addresses of community services such as parks, the fire station, the library and city offices, Greenville School and North Park School. These locations will also be marked on the map using flagged pins. The flags could be of a certain color to denote the service they represent or the name of the service could be written on the flag.
Students' learning will be observed as they interact with the bulletin board, finding their home, their friends' homes, and familiar landmarks.
Out-of-school learning opportunity
Take home a map of Cache County and with your family, find and mark the location of extended family members and/or friends of the family, where people in your family work, where your family goes to shop, eat, or be entertained.
Lesson Two: Our Neighborhood in the Past and Long Ago
The learner will be able to:
identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letter, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others;
demonstrate an ability to use correctly vocabulary associated with time, such as past, present, future, and long ago.
Using photos and documents (Miscellaneous Papers on the History of North Logan, Utah, 1885-1959) related the history of North Logan, students will speculate on and discuss what our community looked like in the past. Using documents and photos relating the history of Cache Valley, students will speculate on and discuss what the valley looked like long ago before white settlers came.
Days Two and Three:
Read Frontier Home by Raymond Bial over the course of several days. Discuss the tools and games of frontier life and how they differ from those of modern life.
Days Four and Five:
Read Pioneer Life on the American Prairie: A Frontier Album and A One-Room School by Bobbie Kalman. Compare and contrast homes and schools of the past with homes and schools of the present. A Venn diagram would be a useful organizing tool for the comparison.
Using population information over a period of many years, construct a graph showing the growth of the community (see background information for North Logan population data). Depending on the grade level, this could be done as a whole class, in groups, or individually.
Visit Jensen Historical Farm, an authentic 1917 dairy farm, where the students can see draft horses, cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and lambs. The Farm has displays of a variety of antique farm equipment and machines. Following the visit, discuss or write about the ways that work got done on a farm in 1917. Compare this with how work is done today with modern machines.
Students' learning will be assessed by drawing a picture of our community as it looked either in the past (before cars, for example) or long ago, before settlement by the pioneers.
Out-of-school learning experience
Interview a grandparent or older neighbor about what school was like in his or her childhood. If possible, construct a brief timeline of that person's life.
Lesson Three: Neighborhoods and Communities in Other Countries
Students will be able to:
explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns;
compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment;
describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms and the like.
Days One through Five:
Over a period of several days, read A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray, Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams, and a variety of non-fiction books about other countries such as Mexico, the People by Bobbie Kalman. Engage students in an ongoing discussion about how people in other countries live, what their neighborhoods look like, what their schools are like, and how they're influenced by the climate and physical environment. If appropriate to the age level of your group, create a chart comparing and contrasting things like food, clothing, shelter, language, education, and entertainment in the various countries read about.
As a class, students will create a class book about Neighborhoods Around the World. Each student will draw and write about neighborhoods in a particular country that they are interested in.
Out-of-school learning experience
Students will take turns taking home the class book, Neighborhoods Around the World and share it with their families. Using blank pages at the end of the book, families can write comments about what they learned or liked about the book or they can write information they have to offer the class that is not covered in the book.
Lesson Four: How Technology Has Affected Neighborhoods
Students will be able to:
identify and describe examples in which science and technology have changes the lives of people, such as in homemaking, childcare, work, transportation, and communication.
Given the information that telephones and electricity did not come to North Logan until 1911 and 1912 and that television wasn't available widely until the 1950s and 60s, students and teacher will engage in a discussion on how people communicated before the telephone, how they functioned without electricity, and what they did for entertainment. A useful book for this discussion is Frontier Home by Raymond Bial, which shows how people cooked and lit their homes and games people played.
Using information about the kinds of games children played, the students can write what their favorite activity would have been if they lived before electricity was invented.
Out-of-school learning opportunity
Students will survey their parents using a questionnaire regarding the technology in their home. Questions might include the following:
How many televisions are in your home?
How many hours per day does your family watch TV?
How many telephones are in your home?
Do you have a computer?
If yes, does your computer have a modem?
Do you have a Nintendo or Sega? How many?
Do your parents have a cellular phone (a car phone)?