Students will identify common elements of cultures from around the world, including Social Organizations, Customs and Traditions, Languages, Arts and Literature, Religion, Forms of Government, Economic Systems, Food and Clothing, and Music and Dance. They will describe each element of culture, giving specific examples of each. Students will apply their knowledge of cultural elements to create a group research project, which illustrates the elements of culture from a specific country of the Eastern World. In addition, they will compare these elements of culture to their own through written articles, illustrations, charts, graphs, artifacts, and visual arts.
Title: International Festival – Cultures of the World Research Projects
Keywords: Culture, Social Studies, Arts and Literature, Eastern World, Eastern Cultures, World Cultures, Social Organizations, Religions, Economic Systems, Government
Curriculum Area: Social Studies
Grade Level: Seventh Grade
Appropriate Group Size: Whole Class, Small Groups, and Individual
Time Expected to Complete Instructional Plan: 2 weeks (10 work days)
Curriculum Area: Social Studies, 7th Grade (Eastern Cultures)
Indiana State Proficiencies:
Materials and Resources Needed:
Classroom is decorated with artifacts from all elements of culture, representing different countries/cultures of the world. A heavy emphasis can be placed on the visual arts and how they relate to different elements of culture. Posters showing forms of government, economic systems, and religious icons are examples of classroom decorations. These can be purchased or borrowed from some museums. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis loans artifact kits to teachers in the area. Questions will arise about the classroom decorations, which will allow the teacher to begin a discussion over the different elements of culture.
NOTE: Students should have prior knowledge and basic understanding of economies and governments.
Day 1 (Whole Group Instruction) Ask students to look at all the decorations throughout the room. Ask them to determine what all the decorations have in common. Answer; Culture. Give definition of culture: Culture is all things that make up a people's entire way of life. From the artifacts and decorations, ask students to determine some of the elements of culture. Answers will vary and teacher should write down responses on board in the form of a brainstorming web. Lead responses from students to form the nine elements of culture, which are as follows:
Explain to students that these elements are common throughout all cultures, including their own.
- Social Organizations (Families and social classes)
- Customs and Traditions
- Arts and Literature
- Forms of Government
- Economic Systems
- Food, Clothing
- Music and Dance
NOTE: Most social studies textbooks for 7th grade have a definition for culture and the elements within a culture.
Day 2 (Student Groups) Organize students into groups of three. Have each group brainstorm examples of culture in their own lives. Group scribes will record their ideas on butcher-block paper. The butcher-block paper should be labeled for each element of culture and should throughout the classroom. Student groups will explain their reasons for choosing these examples. Discuss group findings and differences between groups.
NOTE: These posters can be saved until after research project is complete. At that time, the teacher should lead a discussion and have students compare and contrast elements of their culture with elements of other cultures throughout the world.
Day 3 (Student Groups) Students will remain in groups for their research project. Explain to students that they will be starting a research project for the School International Festival. They are to work in groups to develop a visual display, illustrating the 9 elements of culture from their assigned country.
Hand out Project guidelines (Below) and explain the project requirements and how students will be graded.
NOTE: Teachers may allow students to choose countries or they may assign countries to student groups. Each student will be responsible for 3 of the 9 elements of culture. Teachers, again, can either let students choose which elements they are responsible for, or choose for them. Some elements will be easier to research than others, depending on the country chosen.
Countries of the Eastern Hemisphere
The countries listed here are suggestions. Availability of information on these countries is the key. Teachers should attempt to find some information concerning these countries before research begins.
Corbis Images: http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/imls/ Go to K-12 Web Page.
The Soviet Union (till 1989)
Regions of Oceania
Elements of Culture - Research examples for Teacher reference
Day 4-9 (Student Groups) Students should begin their research in the classroom after you have discussed the following guidelines with them (See Below). Student groups may then decide how to split up jobs within the group and can begin looking in textbooks and magazines. After a day of work, the teacher should check with each group to ensure that they have properly divided the workload and have developed a plan for acquiring their information. Once student groups have developed a plan, divided their workload, and used in class resources, the teacher should begin to allow students to use other resources (i.e. Media Center, Computer labs, etc…) Groups should now be monitored daily for progress and understanding.
- Social Organizations (Families and social classes)Students could create a comparison chart for families within their own culture and in their research country. Students could print out an image of social classes in china and describe the differences between social classes.
One image for this is "Man Pushing Upper Class People in a Rickshaw"
Image ID: IH034383, Date Photographed: ca. 1880
Credit Line: CORBIS/Michael Maslan Historic Photographs
Website is: http://corbisimages.com
- Customs and TraditionsStudents could create a comparison poster, showing different customs and traditions from their country. For example, bowing is an appropriate custom in some Asian countries, where a handshake is more appropriate in others. Additionally, it is a tradition for people of different cultures to celebrate events with parades. Students can download this picture of a SinterKlass parade in Amsterdam to help illustrate that fact.
"Clowns in Sinterklaas Parade", Image ID: OF004376
Photographer: Owen Franken, Date Photographed: November 1991
Location Information: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Credit line: CORBIS/Owen Franken
- LanguagesStudents could create a graph, which shows percentages of the population of their country who speak certain languages. Students could then draw a poster showing how languages are sometimes barriers to understanding one another.
- Arts and LiteratureStudents could print out a large image from one of the Art Databases on the Internet, then write a paragraph explaining what the art shows about the culture at that time in history. A good example of this would be the poster by Dmitry Moore 1920, entitled "Have you Volunteered?" This poster was printed during the Socialist movement in Russia (Soviet Union). This image can be found at http://www.funet.fi/pub/culture/russian/html_pages/posters1.html
- ReligionStudents could create a model of a shrine or temple in their research country and add a poster with religious beliefs and laws from their country. Students could also either create or use images of religious icons and write a paragraph explaining the significance of these icons and discuss basic elements of the religion. For example, students could print out an image of a statue of the Hindu god Vishnu.
"Statue of the Hindu God, Vishnu", Image ID: IH073785
Date Created: 7th century, Current Location: Nakhon Si Thammarat National Museum (Phipitapan Laeng chart), Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, Photographer: Luca I. Tettoni,
Date Photographed:ca. 1980-1995, Credit Line: CORBIS/Luca I. Tettoni
- Forms of GovernmentRepublics, Democracies, Dictatorships, and Monarchies could be compared. Students could choose the system in their country and explain laws, government programs, or taxes. Students could create a hierarchy chart for the government in their country.
- Economic SystemsStudents could explain how the economy in their country compares with that of the United States. Traditional, Free Market, and Command Economies are three to use in a comparison.
- Food & ClothingStudents could research information on typical foods from a particular culture. For example, in China, stir-fry was created out of necessity. Due to a lack of trees in the area, local people had to chop their food into small pieces that would cook quickly. Students could also compare types of clothing worn by different classes of people. The Gentry, or upper class in China wore clothes similar to this image listed below.
"Man Pushing Upper Class People in a Rickshaw"
Image ID: IH034383, Date Photographed: ca. 1880
Credit Line: CORBIS/Michael Maslan Historic Photographs.
Website is: http://corbisimages.com
- Music & DanceStudents could create a computer presentation with music samples from the past and present in their country, then describe their thoughts on this music and why it is appealing to the culture of their country. They could create a model of traditional instruments or people dancing and write a brief report describing the model.
Day 10 (Groups and Individuals) Student groups finish their projects in class. Individual students should check to make sure that they have their name on all of their work. Groups will assemble their display at a designated place in the school.
Student Project Guidelines
Students will receive the following guidelines for their project. These guidelines list "suggestions" for students to use on their projects. It also explains to students how they will be graded.
During the next two weeks, you will be part of a team, researching the many elements of culture from a country in the Eastern Hemisphere. You will be responsible for deciding how to split up the work within the group. There are 9 elements, so you are responsible for three. You must put your name on all work that you complete.
Below are examples and ideas to guide you in your research. You are not limited to these examples. BE CREATIVE! Don't just write about it. Create models, paintings, artifacts, posters, comparison charts, graphs, etc… Remember that your group will set up a display of all your research. You will have samples of food from your country, and you'll be wearing clothing, which resembles the clothing typical of your country. YOU WILL PLAY THE PART!
Elements of Culture
Write a one-page description of the customs and traditions within your country. Make a poster to compare the customs and traditions of your assigned country to those of your own family. Create a short video, which shows people acting out customs and traditions in your assigned county.
Create a graph, which shows the percentages of the people in your assigned country who speak certain languages. Draw a poster showing how languages are sometimes barriers to understanding one another. Write a letter to the government of your country with suggestions for dealing with language barriers between people in that country.
Print out a large image from one of the Art Databases on the Internet, and then write a paragraph explaining what the art shows about the culture at that time in history. Research an artist from your assigned country, and write a short report about his/her artistic work. Include images of that artist's work. Write a book review of a story from your assigned country. Create a story based on a historic event in your assigned country.
Create a model of a shrine or temple from your assigned country and add a poster, which illustrates religious beliefs. Create replicas or use images of religious icons and write a paragraph explaining the significance of these icons and discuss basic elements of the religion and how it has spread throughout history.
Write a report describing the type of government in your assigned country. Create a poster showing the different branches of government and offices held. Compare the government today to that of 200 years ago. Are they the same? How are they different?
Explain how the economy in your assigned country compares with that of the United States. Traditional, Free Market, and Command Economies are three to use in a comparison. What are the major imports and exports of your country? Find an image of a market place in your country and write a short paragraph about what is happening in the image (Based on Economic facts within your assigned country)
Research information about typical foods from your assigned country. For example, in China, stir-fry was created out of necessity. Due to a lack of trees in the area, local people needed to chop their food into small pieces that would cook quickly and use less "fuel". Compare types of clothing worn by different classes of people. The Gentry, or upper class in China wore clothes that were very different from people in lower classes. Describe differences between upper classes and lower classes, or between people of different occupations.
Create a computer presentation with music samples from the past and present in your assigned country then, describe your thoughts on this music and why it is appealing to the people. Create a model of traditional instruments or people dancing and write a brief report describing the model. Draw a picture of people engaged in dancing. Describe what is going on. Are they dancing for a wedding, religious ceremony, funeral?
Additional resources and websites for student research:
Ahmad, Brodsky, Crofts, & Ellis. World Cultures "A Global Mosaic". Prentice Hall, Inc. New Jersey. 1996
Boehm, Armstrong, and Hunkins. Geography, The World and its People. National Geographic Society. Glencoe/McGraw Hill Publishing Co. 1996
http://dir.yahoo.com/Government/Countries/ (Yahoo Search Engine)
http://encarta.msn.com/ (Microsoft Encarta Online)
http://www.ajkids.com/ (Ask Jeeves for Kids)
www.ipl.org/youth/cquest (The Internet Public Library's Culture Quest)
www.yahooligans.com/School_Bell/Social_Studies/ (Yahooligans Search Engine)
www.dreamtime.net.au/main.htm (Stories of the Dreaming; Native Australians)
http://eureka.rlg.org/cgi-bin/zgate2 (The Amico Art Image Database)
http://www.groveart.com (The Grove Dictionary of Art)
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html (The Library of Congress Country Studies)
www.ulib.iupui.edu/subjectareas/cultst.shtml (IUPUI Cultural Studies Directory)
www.theodora.com/wfb/ (The CIA World Fact book)
www.corbisimages.com (Corbis Image Database)
Grades will be based on the following:
A (Excellent, Superior)