Grade 3-5

Communities: What They Provide For Us

Time: 90 mins,
Updated: November 1 2023,


Students will be able to:

  • Organize goods and services provided by communities as well as the jobs people have in communities.

In this economics lesson, students will create communities to learn how they provide goods and services.



Begin by saying:

“Let’s pretend! You are mayor of a new up and coming community. You need to make sure your town is safe so that many new people will move into your area. When you build your community you will need to match each worker to the job that she or he provides. Notice whether that person provides a good or a service to the community. It is important that both types of people live in your community in order for it to grow.”


Open the PowerPoint You, Me, and Community and show the slides on a projector. The slide deck reviews concepts about goods and services within a community.  A PBS video is included in the PowerPoint slide called PBS Kids song-You, Me & Community: Together We’re the Key.

Introduce the idea of building your own community. Distribute a copy of City Planning Designs to each students and discuss how different cities and communities can be organized as a whole class. The 6 different city designs listed in the attached City Designs Handout will help students prepare their community layout. Alternative: Simply choose one of the city designs to review with the class instead of showing all six.

While discussing the types of city design, have the class vote on which design they like best.  Draw that design on your whiteboard, or on a sheet of paper. Have students list what types of businesses they think their community should have.  Be sure to identify if the business provides a good or a service with the students.

Group Activity

Now that students have seen how to build a community, students will be building their own community in pairs.  Instruct students to get into pairs and use a piece of blank computer paper to design their own community. For more space, have students tape 2 pieces of paper side-by-side.  The blank page will be the land their community will be built on.

Review the PDF City Planning Designs again and explain that students can use one of these 6 designs to plan their community.  Explain to each group that their community should have at least:

  • 1 road
  • 2 businesses that provide a service
  • 2 businesses that produce a good
  • 2 houses

Make copies of the House Cut-Out for students to use.  Have students choose which goods and services businesses should provide by using the provided Business Labels and adding them to their building cut-outs. Note: it may be easier for them to add the labels before they cut their buildings.  Students can create their own business if they prefer by using one of the blank labels.  Remind students they will need to leave space for at least 2 residential homes. Remind students to think about what their ideal community would look like while they are planning their community.

Individual Activity

Reinforce to the class that a good is something people want they can touch and hold.  A service is something that one person does for someone else. Have students work individually on a computer. Students will play the Goods and Services Drag and Drop Activity to determine which items are goods and which items are services.  Have students right-click and print their work and write their name on the piece of paper. Students should submit their answers.


Print copies of the Goods and Services Quiz. Have students complete the quiz and submit their worksheet to the teacher.


Activity 1

Have 2 groups of students combine their communities to see what happens when a community grows.  Have the students work together to interview each other and discuss the following questions:

  • Do you have any businesses in common?
  • Do you think their new larger community is missing a provider of a good or service?
  • Would you have planned your community differently if you knew it would grow over time?
  • Can you think of any problems your new larger community might have?

Activity 2

Have students find 2 businesses that provide either goods or services in their community.  Students should share out their businesses at the beginning of the next class as a bell ringer.  They could write them down as a warm-up or have them write them on the board as they enter the class.

Activity 3

Project the YouTube video by PBS Let’s Build a City: Crash Course Kids.  This video introduces students specifically to urban planning and might be a useful follow-up to the lesson for teachers to continue the discussion about different types of communities.