COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast

Students create a cereal box 'TV' that scrolls their drawings of rural, suburban and urban communities.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 2 to Grade 6


Social Studies
Visual Arts


colour contrast line rural suburban urban


Crayola Construction Paper Crayola Washable Glue Stick Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Scissors Crayola Fine Line Markers Crayola Crayons Cereal Box - 1 per student Paper Towel Rolls - 2 per student Masking Tape Craft Sticks - 4 per student

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COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step One

Step One

  1. Unfasten the ends of the cereal box and flatten it.
  2. Draw lines the width of a ruler along each edge of the front of the box.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Place the end of a paper towel roll on top of a small piece of Bristol board.
  2. Draw a square that touches the edges of the circle on the Bristol board.
  3. Cut out the Bristol board square to use as a tracer.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place the tracer on the long side of the box close to the end.
  2. Trace around the square to mark where the paper towel roll will go.
  3. Repeat this process on each end of both long sides of the box.
  4. You should trace 4 squares altogether.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Carefully cut out all 4 squares and the large rectangle.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Glue the box back together.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Make several thumbnail sketches of scenes for rural, suburban and urban communities.
  2. Choose the ones you like best.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Measure the width of the rectangle in your box.
  2. Add 3 cm to this measurement.
  3. This will be the width of the paper you use for your drawings.
  4. Cut 3 pieces of paper the width x 30.5 cm.
  5. Draw lines 2.5 cm in from each end of one piece of the paper parallel to the short ends of the paper.
  6. This is where you will put the glue to attach the other 2 scenes.
  7. Use this paper for the (middle) suburban scene.
  8. Do not colour in these end spaces.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Draw 3 separate scenes – rural, suburban, and urban.
  2. Add details to your drawing to make sure the scenes flow smoothly from one to the other. 
  3. Outline them with a black fine line marker.
  4. Colour them with Crayola Twistables crayons.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Apply glue to the spaces at each end of the suburban scene. 
  2. Glue the rural scene on one end, and the urban scene on the other end of the suburban scene.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Glue one end of the long drawing to one of the paper towel rolls.
  2. Leave spaces of about 8 cm long at the top and bottom of the roll.
  3. Glue the other end of the drawing to the other paper towel roll.
  4. Gently turn one paper towel roll to wrap the drawing around it.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

  1. Slip the rolled drawing into the box.
  2. Feed the paper towel rolls through the holes and line everything up.
  3. Make sure the paper towel rolls fit snuggly in the holes.
  4. If the holes are too big, glue small pieces of Bristol board to the sides of the box so they touch the rolls.
  5. Glue strips of construction paper onto the front and sides of the box.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

  1. Poke 2 holes through the paper towel roll opposite each other and close to the edge of the box.
  2. Insert a craft stick through the holes as shown. 
  3. Repeat for each end of both paper towel rolls.
  4. The craft sticks will keep the rolls from slipping up and down.
COMMUNITIES – Urban, Suburban, Rural, Contrast - Step Thirteen

Step Thirteen

  1. Hold the box in your left hand and slowly turn the paper roll on the right clockwise to view all the scenes.
  2. Switch hands to wind it in the opposite direction.  

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • construct a cereal box 'TV';
  • identify and illustrate rural, suburban and urban communities;
  • use line and colour to create contrast;
  • measure accurately; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  • create an original story that uses the 'TV' images as a backdrop;
  • work with a peer to combine their ideas to create a new story;
  • perform and video their stories using the 'TV' images as a backdrop;
  • share their videos with the class.


  1. Prior to this lesson teach students about the charateristics of rural, suburban and urban communities. 
  2. Gather and make available, books about communities, for example, Farming, by Ann Love and Jane Drake; Town Mouse Country Mouse, by Jan Brett; Going To The Fair, by Sheryl McFarlane; The City Kid & the Suburb Kid, by Deb Pilutti; and The Little House 70th Anniversary Edition, by Virginia Lee Burton.
  3. Have each student bring in 2 paper towel rolls and 1 cereal box, or begin collecting these materials well ahead of time.
  4. Download and display the Line, Colour and Contrast posters available on this website.
  5. Prior to this lesson review or introduce the elements of line and colour, and the principle of contrast.
  6. Make a sample, unfinished, cereal box 'TV'.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud with a book such as The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton.
  2. Compare and contrast the characteristics of urban, suburban and rural communities.
    - Urban communities are very big cities, with lots of people and lots of tall buildings.
    - Suburban communities are smaller cities or towns, close to a big city, with lots of houses that are close together, and parks and malls.
    - Rural communities are in the country, with lots of open space, trees, and houses and farms that are far apart.
  3. Show students your sample cereal box 'TV' and demonstrate the construction process.
  4. Discuss how they might illustrate scenes for each community type.
    - use line and colour to create contrast so the images stand out
    - add details to highlight the key characteristics of each community type
    - blend 2 colours of crayon together by colouring one colour over another one
    - repeat shapes and colours to create patterns
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Construct a cereal box 'TV'.
  2. Identify and illustrate rural, suburban and urban communities.
  3. Use line and colour to create contrast.
  4. Measure accurately.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - accurately illustrated a rural community
    - accurately illustrated a suburban community
    - accurately illustrated an urban community
    - created details that connect one scene to the next one
    - created pictures on paper rolls that turn smoothly in both directions
    - used line and colour to create contrast in the drawings
    - measured the paper accurately
    - created a cereal box TV that is in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to share their work and discuss
    - things that are especially effective and why;
    - what they found satisfying about doing this project;
    - what was difficult about doing this project and how they solved the problem;
    - how they might use what they learned in a different way.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their creations – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the pictures, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Communities_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Communities_self-assessment.pdf)