Cultures Around the World
Teaching Suggestions for Culture e-bookPrint this Page
- Subject(s): Social Studies & Geography, Cross-Cultural Understanding
- Grade Level(s): 3–5, K–2
- Related Publication: E-book | Culture
Our own culture is all around us and has helped to shape who we are, what we enjoy, and our social norms. Our encounters with those of a different culture are excellent opportunities to celebrate our diversity while appreciating our own culture. Students will compare and contrast cultures of the world celebrating their differences and similarities.
- How We Dress
Research forms of traditional dress from a country highlighted in the e-book. Provide some traditional dress items (or similar items) for students to try on, or have students create paper dolls or cut outs wearing traditional clothing. Discuss why people of that culture might dress this way. Is it due to weather, religious beliefs, availability of particular materials used, or the meanings of certain colors? Look at old photos of people in the United States ? compare how they dressed in other decades or centuries with how we dress today. Discuss the ways that traditions and customs may change over time within a culture. Have the students draw how they might dress in fifty years.
- What We Eat
Many countries have a national dish. Brainstorm some of the typical foods eaten in the United States. Introduce some of the national dishes to your class either by preparing them, sharing photos or reading the ingredients (great for mathematics!).
- How We Celebrate
Some of the most important events in our lives are those that celebrate the key milestones we experience. In the United States, such events as weddings, birthdays, and funerals may be celebrated differently depending on culture or religion. Learn about some of the ways different cultures celebrate these milestones. Research, then compare and contrast, some of the smaller milestones in a child's life and how they are celebrated in different cultures, such as: birth and naming of child, first birthday, loss of first tooth/teeth, or coming of age.
- Our Holidays
Discuss some of the important holidays in the United States, including when and how they are celebrated. Research the important holidays of a country highlighted in the e-book. As a class, consider celebrating one of the holidays you learned about.
- How We Travel
Begin with a discussion of typical modes of transportation in the U.S.
Research the history and development of some of these modes of transportation. How has the way we travel in the United States changed over time? Then discuss different modes of transportation around the world such as camel, canoe, elephant, jeepneys, gondola, sled dogs, tuk-tuks, etc. Why are they used? How are these modes of transportation similar to and different from what we use in the U.S.?
- How do students get to school? (Bus, parent's car, bike, walk)
- How do we travel long distances? (airplane, train, car, motorcycle)
- How We Greeting One Another (language):
How we greet one another can be very different from country to country. Research and discuss the different ways people greet one another in different countries. Examine physical gestures (or body language) and verbal language used. Have the students create their own new way to greet someone.
Or, choose several countries highlighted in the e-book, and research how people might greet one another in that country. Use a different culture's greeting each day of the week in your classroom.
- Our History: Native American Culture
Native Americans have played a vital role in the history of the United States. Research the Native Americans that live, or have lived, in your region of the United States. Have students draw a Native American village with characteristics unique to the tribal groups from your area. Research some of the pictographs or art created by early Native Americans, including the meanings and symbolism in the art (e.g., meanings behind different figures in pictographs or symbols seen in totem poles). Then, have students create their own pictographs or art inspired by a Native American style.
- Our Music
Discuss some of the instruments that are popular in American music (e.g., guitar, piano, drum, violin, or other instruments they learn or practice in school). What are their origins? Were any created in the United States?
- International Greetings
After learning several greetings from different countries, give several children a small card each with a different description or drawing of a traditional greeting from another country. Similar to charades, have each student share her or his greeting, while classmates guess its country of origin. Discuss ways students might react if they were greeted this way.