Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dalias Price


This paper is a model to be used as a vehicle for elementary school students to become more informed about their community. A basic understanding of the local community will help elementary students (kindergarten through sixth grade) continue to expand their social science concepts in the modern, rapidly-changing world. The students readily observe the present growth and development of the community and they wonder about its bearings on the future.

This study is designed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of most elementary teachers pursuing such a topic. The instructor, after familiarizing himself with the background material presented in Part 1, should experience minimum difficulty in teaching a model.

The community model in this investigation is Charlton, Massachusetts. It is a rustic New England town located in the south-central portion of the state. The economic base is dairy farming.

Part 1 of this paper presents information relative to the physical and cultural background of the town. It is presented topically. Physical features of the town include: landforms, soils, main bodies of water, vegetation, climate and weather. The cultural features include: early inhabitants, agriculture, industry and educational institutions.

Following the background information a sample teaching model is outlined. After a general survey of the material has been explored a focus is selected. The focus chosen for this model was family life in Charlton, specifically during the early 1800's compared and contrasted to family life during the 1970's in Charlton.

The early nineteenth century model is the Salem Towne family who was active in Charlton's agricultural, military, and political affairs. Many records of the family have been preserved. The Towne home, now on the common, at Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, is toured by many visitors each year.

The twentieth century model is each student's family. The students will center on comparing family member roles in this study. The areas include: family member roles in work performed in the home, work performed away from the home, and how leisure time is utilized.