Beyond Broadcast

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES:Activity 3: The Elements of a Community

The Elements of a Community--Who Belongs, Who Decides?

Learning Outcome
Students will identify the elements of a community, compare and contrast communities, and consider what binds or destroys a community.

photo of a man speaking into a microphone Video Segments

A. Excerpt length: 10 minutes. Begins approximately 5 minutes from the start. In cue: "Another twenty-five years have passed." Out cue: "...stay in their bedroom."
B. Excerpt length: 7 minutes. Begins approximately 2 hours, 44 minutes from the start. In cue: "Everyone is on the street." Out cue: "...history of this town."


Part One
  1. View video segment A.

  2. Brainstorm a "web" with students on the theme of community. ( Draw a "web" diagram on the chalkboard.) Suggested questions to stimulate ideas include:
    • What are the key elements of a community?
    • What different kinds of communities do we belong to? (e.g. family, school, neighborhood, religious community)
    • What is the differences between community and cohabitation?
    • What is the role or impact of the buildings and physical surroundings vs. the people?
    • Is there an ideal size for a community?
    • Is it always a choice to be a member of a community? When is it? When is it not?
    • What holds a community together? What tears a community apart?
    • Do communities have collective memory?
    • Do members of a community have to agree on all issues?
    • What are some attributes of a successful community?
    • What elements may hinder a community's success?
    • Does a community have to work for everyone to be successful?
    • How are decisions made and how is power distributed?

  3. Focus on your school as a community. As a class, consider these questions using the information from the web: (Not all students will agree on their answers to these questions. That is part of the value of this discussion. Although we may belong to the same community, we don't all understand it in the same way.)
    • What are the "rules" (both spoken and unspoken) of the community?
    • Is it a "successful" community?
    • Does it function to the benefit of all its members?
    • Does it function at the expense of any individual or groups?
    • From whose perspective?

Part Two

  1. Show the class video segment B. Give time for students to discuss their reactions.

  2. Ask students to describe the controversy and to identify the issues involved. What were the dissatisfied people thinking? Which points of view were represented? Which points of view were not represented and why? How was the decision made? Was this celebration reflective of a successful community?

    Lesson Length
    Each part can be completed in a single class period.

New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE


New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE


New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE
FRONTLINE / WGBH Educational Foundation