A class mascot leaves behind clues to its location as it travels the world. Where is the mascot this month? Week?
music, world music, art, architecture, geography, mascot, clues, mystery
This activity can be used all year long in the classroom. In the days prior to introducing the lesson, you might display a class mascot in a prominent location in the room. (I used a maraca that I hung from the top of the blackboard. You might use a stuffed animal, a doll, or anything else that will spark student interest.)
Tell students that the mascot is a world traveler and is known to disappear from time to time -- so students must watch closely to discover when the mascot leaves for a trip!
Assemble pictures of different geographic locations to which you want to expose your students. Find famous art, interesting architecture, and music that represent that location.
For instance, for our mascot's first trip abroad -- to Italy -- I tracked down pictures of Venice, Rome, and Florence. I printed pictures of famous paintings and other Italian art that I found on the Web. I recorded music by Vivaldi, Puccini, and Morricone.Send yourself an email from the mascot and save it. In the e-mail include clues to the mascot's location. If possible, you might even take a digital picture of the mascot and use Photoshop to superimpose it in the photo to make the trip "real."
Then create clues to the identity of the location. For example, for Italy I wrote these clues:
You might allow students to work on their own or in teams. They should write down several guesses of the mascot's location and discuss the possibilities. Once the location is correctly guessed, display your collected items of interest from that location. If you have a projector attached to a computer, share additional art, famous buildings, pictures of cities, pictures of famous composers, and other interesting information about the location.
Play samples of music that originated or is identified with the region. Discuss the stylistic elements that are indicative of the region.
Have students create a "travel journal" and write their "memories" of each location to which the mascot traveled.
Melanie E. Shaw, Vogelweh Elementary School in Kaiserslautern, Rhineland Pfalz (Germany)
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