Teachers, you can now register your students for TWO NATIONAL COMPETITIONS this spring—our National Personal Finance Challenge (financial stability/mobility) and our National Economics Challenge (micro/macroeconomics).

Grade K-2

Communities – What They Provide For Us

Updated: May 4 2016,
Author: Nancy Sedivy

Students will learn that a job is work people do to earn a living in the world today.Students will learn the difference between jobs that provide a service and jobs that provide a good.


constryctionYou 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.

[Note: Teachers and advanced students can click here to learn more about city planning]

Learning Objectives

  • Identify a variety of jobs that people perform and determine for each job whether it provides a service or good.
  • Explain the importance of having businesses that provide services and goods in their community.

Resource List

  • Kids and Community: Find out what it's like to be a city planner and try some cool activities! Discover how you create communities, how you live in them, and how you change them.
  • What Kids Can Do: Find out how these kids are making a difference! Meet amazing young activists and check out what they've been doing to improve their communities; find resources to help you get involved too.
  • hairCommunities – What They Provide For Us: This is and interactive drag and drop activity. Students will match each person with the job she or he provides for the community.
    Interactive Drag and Drop Activity 1
  • Build Your Own Community Worksheet: The students will cut out buildings, vehicles, and other things that can be found in a city to build their own community.
  • Providing Goods or Services: This is another interactive drag and drop activity. Teachers can assess students understanding of the concepts in this lesson.
    Interactive Drag and Drop Activity 2

  • Related Lesson Plans: The following are additional lesson plans, and activities, available for your use.
    I Can Dream Anything!
    Delivering the Goods
    Build Your Community


Activity 1:

The learner will match each person with the job that she or he provides for the community, using this interactive drag and drop activity.

Activity 2:

After the students have determined the job that each person provides, have them design their own working community using these worksheets — or draw their own. Make sure they include:

  • three businesses that provide a service.
  • three businesses that produce a good that is used by the people in the community.
  • three types of shelter that people could live in.

nurseThe students will then add any other details that they think their community should have in order to look like a community that someone would want to live in.

They could also write a story about their community including several reasons why someone would want to move there.

You may also want your students to design a billboard advertising the new growth and development of their community and why it would be the perfect place to live.


plumberWhy do communities need people who provide services as well as goods?

[You need to have both types of people to have a balance. People need to have a place to purchase items that they need in order to live. Businesses need to carry items that people are interested in purchasing so that they are able to sell them to make a living. It is with this balance that a community is able to support itself and grow in population.]

What would happen to a community if there were no businesses in town?

[The people would have to drive to another city to buy their food and clothes. It might not be a very safe town if there were no fire departments or police departments there. People would have to drive to other communities to shop for food and clothes, or to go to the doctor.]

Extension Activity

  1. The teacher could invite the parents in for a "Community Worker Day." Students would select a person from the community and give a presentation on that person’s job. The students who make these presentations should dress in costume to look like the people they are portraying. Alternatively, the teacher might invite working parents into the classroom to talk about their jobs.
  2. Take the children on a bus tour of your community. Visit different businesses located there: For example, the post office, stores, banks, hardware store, phone company, energy company. If it is not possible to visit, invite people from some of these businesses to visit the classroom; ask them to talk about their businesses and why they are important to the community.
  3. The following are additional lesson plans, and activities, available for your use:
    • I Can Dream Anything!
      Can your students really DO everything? Can your students really BE anything? The one true statement is that your students really can DREAM anything. This lesson is based on the song, "I Can Do Anything," and students find many service occupations within the song. They will discover that they can do many different things, but they can’t do them all! Choices have to be made!
    • Delivering the Goods
      In this lesson, students learn to differentiate between goods and services. It encourages children to identify for themselves the names of the producers of goods and services.
    • Build Your Community
      Students will build the community of their dreams. They also learn about the different businesses and what service they provide. This lesson also provides a written definition of goods and services.


Teachers can assess students understanding by using this interactive drag and drop activity. In this activity students will sort people into the categories they belong in (good, service, or both).

Have the students draw a picture of themselves doing jobs that they are responsible for in their family. They could show themselves taking out the garbage, picking up their room, helping to clean the house, setting the table, or folding clothes. Other possible jobs include mowing the lawn or cleaning the kennel or cage for a pet. Have the students write a story about themselves and present it to the class.

To learn more about kids who are making a difference in their community check out the what kids can do website.