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Winning Lesson Plan

Investigating World Cultures

Subject: Geography, Technology
Grade: 6-8

Brief Description

Students work in groups to write research reports and create visuals about countries, put on a culture fair, and use PowerPoint to present their information. (NOTE: This multi-disciplinary technology lesson can be adapted for use in classrooms where technology is not available.)

Objectives

Students work in small groups to

  • research and write reports about another country;
  • create visuals such as travel posters, charts, T-shirts;
  • create PowerPoint presentations;
  • host a culture fair to share information with other students.

Keywords

geography, world, cultures, economy, government

Materials Needed

  • computers with Internet access
  • Culture Fair (Click on Culture Fair Research Sites for links to many online sources suitable for students to use in their research.)
  • a world atlas, an almanac, and other references
  • art supplies

Lesson Plan

Introduction
Divide students into groups of four or five students, and ask each group to choose a country in the Eastern Hemisphere to learn about. Explain that students will create visuals, write research reports, and produce PowerPoint presentations to display at a culture fair.

For this multi-disciplinary project, students work in their various subject classes. Generally, students spend about one week per month working on each aspect.

  • Social studies class: Students research their countries.
  • Art class: Students make travel posters, T-shirts, postcards.
  • English class: Students write travel journals, reports, "geo poems."
  • Science class: Students prepare posters on a scientific topic about the country studied, for example, a poster of the Great Barrier Reef for Australia.
  • Music and band class: Students learn foreign dances and songs.
  • Math class: Students construct circle and bar graphs about literacy rates, population density, amount of arable land, and per capita gross domestic product (GDP).

VISUALS AND WRITTEN WORK

Political and Product Maps
Students in each group locate or create a political and a product map about the country.

Land, Location, Climate Report
Each group researches and writes a report providing this information about the country.

Travel Poster, T-Shirt Design, Postcard, Passport
Students in each group divide the work and develop either a travel poster or a T-shirt that highlights an important landmark, museum, or something unique about the country. Students can go to VirtualTourist.com for information and ideas. Each student designs a postcard and writes a persuasive letter to a friend or family member telling reasons the person should visit the country. Each student designs a passport.

Culture Report
To enhance their research on the culture of each country, students contact classes in other countries using ePALS, Key Pals, or EmbassyWeb.

Charts
Each group creates charts comparing its country with others; groups compare economic or social data, for example, life expectancy, population density, population of largest cities, literacy rates, amount of arable land, imports and exports, trade partners.

Economy Report -- How People Make a Living
Each group researches the economy of the country and the kinds of work people perform.

Geo Poem
First, students make an outline of their country on construction paper, and then they draw eight guidelines in pencil across the map. Students follow this pattern for the non-rhyming poem:

Lines 1 and 8: the name of the country
Line 2: three to four physical features
Line 3: one to three cultural features; for example, landmarks, museums, main cities
Line 4: bordering countries or bodies of water
Line 5: a short description about the climate
Line 6: three historical events that shaped the country
Line 7: issues or problems of importance; for example, poverty, poor land, war, pollution

Government Report
Students research and report on the form of government for each country.

POWERPOINT PRESENTATION

Each group prepares a PowerPoint presentation. The multimedia presentation consists of 11 slides. Students should include clip art, maps, flags, and pictures in their media presentations.

Slide 1: country and group members' names
Slide 2: flag
Slide 3: geography (description of the terrain)
Slide 4: map of the country
Slide 5: culture (religion, holidays/festivals, sports, foods, language)
Slide 6: tourist attractions
Slide 7: capital and main cities
Slide 8: natural resources
Slide 9: imports and exports
Slide 10: per capita gross domestic product (GDP), literacy rates, life expectancy
Slide 11: Is the country developed or developing?

CULTURE FAIR

  • Invite other classes and students' families to the cultural fair.
  • Have students display their reports, visuals, and PowerPoint presentations.
  • Ask each group to prepare food representative of the country.
  • Recommend that students dress in clothes representative of the country.
  • Display any correspondence from students' e-pals.

Teacher's Comments
I have developed this project over a 27-year period. Check my Culture Fair Web page for more links and pictures of this project, which was done in the year 2000. (Note: Links might not be available at this date.)

Our class sent the first Culture Box containing items pertaining to our school, community, state, and country to a school in southern France. Our class is also joining nine other international schools in developing PowerPoint presentations of the schools, communities, and countries. We are going to exchange the presentations in early May.

This project is a great application of the five themes of geography.

Assessment

Evaluate students' PowerPoint presentations, geo poems, and displays of work at the Culture Fair.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

David Anderson ([email protected]), Tamarac Middle School, Troy, New York


As our highlighted lesson, the submitter was awarded a $50 honorarium. See our guidelines to submit yours!

Originally published 03/09/2001
Links last updated 01/18/2005
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