Learn with Hanford Mills

What is a Community?




Understand the concept of community and the interconnectedness of community members.


Students will engage in a discussion in class about what “community” means to them, and will gain an understanding of communities by thinking about their own.


  • A sheet of white paper for each student
  • Crayons or colored pencils


  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Class Time: 45 minutes


  • Give each student a copy of the article discussing the history of Hanford Mills.
    • At the beginning of class, gather the students together in a group, or ask them to arrange their desks into a circle for discussion. Explain that you are going to discuss the meaning of community.
      Questions to ask:

    • What is a community?
    • Who lives in a community?
    • What do people in a community do?
    • How are people in a community linked?
    • How are the people in your community linked?
    • How is your community linked to neighboring communities?
    • How is your community similar to/different from neighboring communities? How do these similarities/differences shape the relationships between the communities?
  • Ask students to return to their desks or to remain at their desks and think about what community means to them.
  • Ask students to use the paper and coloring implements to draw a picture of what their community means to them. (For younger children, you may wish to suggest that each student pick a specific member of their community to illustrate and ask them to indicate the contribution made to the community by this person or business.)
  • Ask students to present their pictures to the class.
  • Hang the pictures on the wall.
  • Explain to the students that they will be learning about a community in East Meredith, New York, which is where Hanford Mills Museum is located. This may be a good time to do the Pre-Visit Orientation Activity.


  • Participation in class discussion (listening and speaking)
  • Community drawing
  • Presentation of drawing to class
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NYS Learning Standards:

  • ELA Standard 1
  • Art Standard 1

Vocabulary & Spelling Words

    Business – n. a company or other group that buys and sells goods or services in order to make money.

    Community – n. a group of people who live in one area, such as a town, under one government.

    Organization – n. a group of persons acting together for some purpose.