Countries Around the World

Grades: 
3, 4, 5

Students explore the cultures of different countries through the food, costume, celebrations, geography, education, music, and other features of a chosen country. The lesson requests the use of parent involvement, and culminates in a vivid presentation at a school assembly.

 

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
Print4-6 Weeks, meeting three times a week in 40-minute classes, plus homework
Objectives 

The learner will:

  • read about different countries of the world.
  • research a specific country of choice.
  • write a research report.
  • design and craete a unique representation of the country.
  • communicate and present information (science-fair style) to the school community.
Materials 
  • Handout One: International Festival Grade Sheet
  • Internet and library resources for student research on individual countries
  • student-selected materials for creating a map, flag, display board, and costume
  • authentic recipe ideas from the internet, cookbooks, or family culture (prepared at home)
  • student-created invitations
  • a room for hosting the event at school
Teacher Preparation 

Research and view pictures on the internet of International Festivals put on by elementary schools. You can get ideas of the range of activities and types of resources schools use for this type of event. 

 

This unit is very in-depth and time consuming.  While most of the written work and some research take place in the classroom, parental support is of great importance.  We ask parents to assist children in the kitchen with the recipe preparation, costume design at home, and assist students with creative materials for making the maps and flags at home.  We encourage all ideas to come from students and expect student work, but it is not feasible to create all aspects of the project during school hours.  Due dates for the individual components of the project are spread out through the six week time frame.  We also ask for parent assistance before and after the festival to help warm-up food, help students dress in costume, set up display boards, return items at the end of the festival, and clean up. 

 
Home Connection 

Send home an invitation to families to attend the International Festival.Sample invitation: The 3rd grade presents the International Festival on Wednesday, March 19 from 2:00-3:00 in the music room We hope to share this special afternoon with you.Social Studies projects from around the world willbe on display for parents, students, and faculty.You will see flags, maps, and special items frommany exciting places. Parents and teachers will beinvited to sample delicious international foods.We welcome you to start touring the festivalat 2:00 pm. If you would like to help your child setup his/her project, set up will begin at 1:00 pm.Thank you again for your support with this great3rd grade project. Send home a thank you after the event. Sample Thank You Letter: Dear Third-Grade Families, The International Festival was a huge success. Thank you for all of your help.If you were able to join us and see the wonderful projects, we hope you enjoyed yourself. Thank you for coming. If you were unable to attend, you still deserve our thanks for supporting your child's work from home. All of the projects were truly spectacular! Everyone at St. Richard's was very impressed with the boys and girls.We will be sending home grade sheets for each of the required parts of the project next week. Thanks, Your child's teachers

Instructions

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  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Tell the students that they will be holding an international festival at their school and inviting students, community members, and families to the event and sharing information about a variety of countries around the world.Use a previous year’s picture book or images from the Internet to show students some of the ideas other students used to present their country of choice. Use books in the classroom to share tidbits of information about different countries to spark students' interest. Let students play with an interactive globe, like Google's World Wonders.

  2. Each student will choose a country to research and present. Whenever possible, allow students to research a country from their own heritage or in which they have a personal interest. Although there may be some duplication, try to have only one student working on any speicific country.

  3. Encourage student voice in expanding the festival to include community members and organizations who share information or help with preparation and presentation. Invite guest from the community to speak about their family heritage.

  4. After researching and writing a report on the country of choice, the student will create an informational and interactive display to share at the international festival (science fair style):

    • Creatively design or find a costume to don during the festival.
    • Design a representation of the country’s map and flag using creative materials (examples: painted macaroni shells, sewing felt pieces together, tissue paper, salt maps, clay maps).
    • Investigate and compare/contrast the country’s current poverty level to his or her own country; also share any organizations that offer assistance to aid the country.
    • Share information about the country's strengths and uniquenesses.
    • Follow the requirements on the provided rubric (Handout One) and expand the creativity with ideas of their own, especially that involve interacting with the visitors to their display.
  5. As a whole group, the students will learn and perform song and dance from several different countries. This may be taught by the music teacher or local community members.

  6. As a whole group, the students will learn about and create art projects correlating to a specific country’s culture. The art teacher may conduct this lesson during art class.

  7. Mini-Lessons related to philanthropy:

  8. Define philanthropy as giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good. Discuss ways we are philanthropists in our school and families.

  9. Discuss philanthropic traditions in the various countries studied. For example, in Korea, families support one another financially rather than giving to outside organizations. In Hindu scripture (India), people who have abundance are expected to give or are considered thieves. Compare cultural expectations of generosity, volunteering, kindness, and financial giving.

  10. Look at major health, environment, and social issues highlighted in different countries.

  11. Discuss and compare ways people can help their neighbors and ways people can help across the world.

  12. On the day of the festival

  13. Students set up and decorate the space where the festival will be held.

  14. Each student dresses in costume and sets up a table display with all their prepared materials.

  15. They present information to visitors who move around the room at their own pace.

  16. The food may be sampled at the individual tables as part of the individual presentations or at a buffet where everyone eats together.

  17. Whole group presentations of dance and art can be held at scheduled times in the festival time frame.

  18. Set up a schedule for each student to walk around and see the other displays. This will ensure that there are only a few people away from their displays at a time.

  19. After the festival:

  20. Spend time reflecting on the experience. Discuss what the students learned, what they want to know, and what they plan to do next.

  21. Have the students write and send thank you notes to people and organizations who helped make the day a success. The thank you note should include some recap and reflection, as a demonstration of learning.

Cross Curriculum 

The students will serve the entire school community by raising awareness of global issues and respect for diverse cultures. The international festival is set up similar to a science fair with individuals presenting their research, and it includes whole-group presentation of music, dance, food tasting, and the visuals of costume and artifacts. Students include major issues and facts about their chosen country and spark ideas about how individuals can get involved philanthropically.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify common roles that families play in society.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of philanthropic traditions of diverse cultures.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Identify the similarities in philanthropic behavior among people of different cultural backgrounds.