Grade Levels: K-3

This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about rural, urban, and suburban communties. The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Rural, Urban, and Suburban. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

According to the latest U.S. Census, there are over 300 million people that live in the United States today. Our population lives in a variety of places, which can be divided into three main categories: urban, suburban, and rural areas.

People often define urban areas, or cities, as land occupied by buildings and other structures used for residences and institutional and industrial sites. Urban areas often have some form of public transportation, such as buses, subways, or trains and have high population densities. Buildings are often closer together and built higher than those in suburban or rural areas.

Suburban areas are those on the outskirts of cities. Residents of suburban areas often commute to the cities for work. Some suburban areas have commuter trains and buses that shuttle people to and from the cities. Structures in suburban communities are often lower and farther apart than in cities. Though they have smaller populations than cities, suburbs offer the same services including schools, health care facilities, and public works.

The 2000 Census showed that 59 million people live in rural areas. These are areas with large amounts of land with significantly lower populations than urban or suburban areas. Structures are often far apart and some rural communities share hospitals or schools. Rural areas tend to be far from urban areas. When many students think of rural areas, they think of farmland. However, people live in woodland forests, plains, deserts, and prairies, which are examples of rural areas.

Helping your child understand where people live will help your child understand the world around him or her. We recommend watching the Reading Maps movie together as a review. Your child will be able to expand his or her knowledge of surrounding communities and learn how to be an active member of his or her community.