A Trail
Two Cities


A WebQuest for 2nd Grade Social Studies

Designed by

Annette Oliva

Introductionl Learnersl Standardsl Processl Resourcesl EvaluationlConclusionl CreditslStudent Page

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This lesson was developed as a final project for IRED 540, taken in Fall 1999.  I chose my topic after looking through the second grade Social Studies curriculum.  I felt that my students could benefit greatly from experiencing "the big city" through this type of project.  In completing the activities, I hope that my students will also learn to appreciate the benefits of living in a small town.
The goal of "A Trail of Two Cities" is to let students experience large cities and small towns through activities.  They will be encouraged to discover the advantages and disadvantages to living in a large city and a small town.  They will be asked to compare/contrast the two in regards to population, weather, culture, etc.  I have included a variety of activities in hopes of reaching all students at their levels of learning.  By including this WebQuest on my homepage on the Internet, I hope to provide these experiences to all children.


I teach second grade and have structured my activities to cover several Second Grade Curriculum Standards in Social Studies.  I am confident however, that teachers at other grade levels can modify the activities to fit their students' needs.
Teachers who want to use this WebQuest as a tool in their classrooms should be aware of prior knowledge their students should have.  Students should be aware of terms such as rural, urban, population, climate, advantage, disadvantage, timeline and venn diagram.  Students should also be able to collect data from a weather station, create a graph and a pamphlet, complete a venn diagram and a timeline, and be familiar with journaling and writing poetry.

Curriculum Standards

Social Studies Standards Addressed

Science Standards Addressed

Language Arts Standards Addressed

Some of the thinking skills and communication skills encouraged by the activities are comparison/contrast, visualization, observation, sequencing, reflection and creative production.  The activities done in groups will also promote cooperative learning skills such as teamwork, compromise and presentation skills.


Task 1  Experience the big city using your senses.

Task 2  Create a timeline marking the important events of your town.

Task 3  Create a pamphlet about your town.

Task 4  Make a web about your town.

Task 5  Compare a large city to your small town.

Task 6  Discover transportation methods in the city.

Task 7  Record and compare weather from different cities in the US.

Task 8  Write a poem about living in a small town or a big city.

Task 9  Convince a penpal to move.

Task 1  Have you ever been to a big city?  There are lots of things to see, hear, smell, touch and taste.  Study the pictures of the big cities and complete the activities for each of the five senses.  Then you can complete one last activity using your senses.

Task 2  We attend Dozier Elementary in Erath, Louisiana.  Erath does not have enough people living in it to be a city.  It is like a suburb of Lafayette, Louisiana.  Read about how Erath came to be a town one hundred years ago.  Then create a timeline marking the important events in the history of Erath.  If you have Timeliner 4.0 you can create a timeline on the computer.

Task 3  Are you proud of your town?  Visit some of the special places in Erath.  Then create a pamphlet about Erath using PrintShop.  If you have access to a digital camera, you may want to include pictures of your own.  Journal Topic:  Erath is a great place to live because....

Task 4  Have you ever thought about all of the great things about your town?  List topics such as People, Places, Schools, Sports, Stores, etc.  Assign students (possibly in groups), to find entries for each topic.  After assigned time (two or three days), have students give information they have found and create a web using Inspiration.

Task 5  Does the big city seem really different from your small town?  Create a Venn Diagram to show how a small town and a big city can be alike, and how they can be different.  Journal Topic:  I would rather live in a big city/small town (choose one) because....

Task 6  How do you get from place to place in town?  How do you get to Abbeville or Lafayette?  Take a look at how people in the city and suburbs often travel.

Task 7  Have you ever thought about how the weather in your town might be different from other parts of the United
States?  For a week check weather conditions daily and journal findings.  (You may want to assign groups of students to take different cities.)  At the end of the week, graph findings using The Graph Club.  Using a map of the United States to locate the states where the cities are located, discuss how locations may possibly affect the weather ( colder in northern cities, or more rain in coastal cities).  Possible journal topic: Would people living in a big city be affected greater by weather than people living in a small town?

Task 8 Write a poem about life in a small town, or life in a big city.  You may choose any kind of poem to write.  Remember poems may rhyme, but they do not have to.  Here are some different kinds of poemsfor you to enjoy.

Task 9 Your pen pal's dad has to be relocated for his job.  The family now lives in Africa and has a choice of four cities in the United States.  Your friend wants your opinion of the best place to move.  Write a letter convincing your friend which is the best place for them to move to.  Be sure to include many reasons.