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Technology Required: Internet access, e-mail, scanner (optional), chat (optional), video conference (optional)

Grade Level(s): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Subjects(:) History/Social Science and Language Arts

Duration: 4-6 weeks

Description: During this activity, students will interact with peers in other schools to explore differences in the educational systems in other regions.


  1. Compare school cultures with respect to a defined list of areas.
  2. Explore differences in educational systems.


  1. Maps
  2. List of potential partners (from local contacts or a Web site)
  3. Software programs for creating/using e-mail, chat, and/or instant messaging, videoconferencing (optional), scanner, spreadsheet, and word processor documents


  1. Before beginning this exchange, ask students to gather the information below as it relates to their own school. A work sheet will be helpful in getting this information organized.
  2. Here are some possible areas for discussion:
  3. Exchange information with selected partners. Try to get a "snapshot" that reflects the views of an entire class rather than a selected student. This will help you get more balanced information. Using chat, instant messaging, or videoconferencing would enhance exchanging this type of information.
  4. Be sure to allow time for your students to synthesize, analyze, and summarize what they have learned. Does the information impact the students' thinking about their school and the educational system in general?
  5. A final report might take the form of a Web page, a Power Point presentation, or a graphical analysis of information gathered.

Using a rubric that assesses process and knowledge will help students look at the information both as students and as researchers. As students, they may simply compare the perceived good and bad about each partner school. As researchers, they will be able to see the connection between community, culture, and school.

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