Studies of the Eastern World

by Aimee Burman and Elizabeth
Danville Middle School
Danville Community School Corporation

Studies of the Eastern Worlds presents aspects of Eastern culture through the presentation and viewing of visual images. Students will view artwork from Thailand, China, Indian, Japan, Pakistan, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, and Korea. Students will be challenged to discover similarities and differences in the culture of each of the countries by looking at the art from each country. The students will test their hypothesis and assumptions through further research in the media center. The final presentation of their research will include the creation of a cultural map of the Eastern World.

Lesson Plan Title: Studies of the Eastern Worlds: Cultural Maps

Keywords: Eastern World/Cultures/History/Geography/Interdisciplinary

Curriculum Area: Cultures

Grade Level: Seventh grade

Appropriate Group Size: Whole Class

Time Expected to Complete Instructional Plan: 5 days

Instructional Objectives:

  1. Students will learn of aspects of eastern culture by viewing various artworks.
  2. Students will determine similarities and differences of eastern culture in the various countries by viewing the artworks.
  3. Students will work successfully in cooperative learning groups.
  4. Students will discover religion, language, life styles, and historical figures in various eastern world countries through researching.
  5. Students will present the material they discover to classmates using visuals.

Indiana State Proficiencies:

Indiana State Social Studies Proficiencies Guide

Geographical Relationships: Explain the relationship between physical and cultural features on the earth’s surface.

Economics: Demonstrate the influence of physical and cultural factors upon the economic systems found in countries of the Eastern World.

World Cultures: Using the cultures of the Eastern World as a context, identify the common elements of different cultures.

Inquiry Skills: Using relevant data derived from a variety of sources, formulate conclusions, make decisions, and present findings related to various cultures of the Eastern World.

Historical Perspectives: Evaluate the effect of historical events, figures, and decisions on eastern cultures.

Materials and Resources:

Various pieces of artwork from eastern worlds:
Corbis Images: Internet Web Sites: Country Cutouts


Obtain the artwork from the eastern world countries being studied and place Throughout the classroom. Each art work should be labeled for the country it represents. Advanced research could be done ahead of time to provide the teacher with a basic knowledge of the resources available to the students on the countries the students will study.

Student Instruction:

  1. Ask students to walk around the room and look at each piece of artwork.
  2. Challenge students to write down five things about the eastern world culture that they perceive by looking at the artwork.
  3. Lead a discussion with the class on what they discovered about the culture. Some possible topics may include religion, dress, occupations, and family.
  4. Challenge students to find similarities and differences between different the countries’ cultures by looking at the artwork.
  5. Discuss with students the cultural map project and hand out instruction sheet with rubric.
  6. Students pick or are assigned to a group. Give each group a cutout of a country.
  7. Students will spend time in the Media Center researching their country. Each group researches the religion, language, way of life, and a historical figure. They must also locate the flag and a famous artist or artwork from their country.
  8. Once students have done their research they must draw or paste pictures to their map that represents each topic on their country.
  9. Students give an oral report on what they found out about their country’s culture by doing research. The cultural maps are to be used as a visual during their report.
  10. Students hang cultural maps on the bulletin board so that they fit together like a puzzle to create a large visual of the eastern world.

Student Assessment:

  1. Students’ participation in research groups.
  2. Rubrics for cultural maps and presentations based on:
    a. Complete information found:
    i. religion
    ii. language
    iii. life styles
    iv. historical figure
    v. flag
    vi. artist or artwork
    g. Map complete with representation of all of the above mentioned items
    h. Oral presentation


This lesson is extended through an interdisciplinary unit with science, geography,math, health, cultures, and art. All of these lessons can be found under the title “Studies of the Eastern Worlds.”

Teacher Notes:

This is a new interdisciplinary unit developed on the idea of bringing visual arts into the classroom. This particular lesson has not yet been tested in the classroom. Its introduction will take place in the fall of 1999.