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Culture and Schooling

Essential Question

How does the culture of a nation affect its schooling?

Standards Addressed in Our Lesson
National Council for the Social Studies Standards Addressed
Standard 1 (Culture)- Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity.
Human beings create, learn, and adapt culture. Culture helps us to understand ourselves as both individuals and members of various groups. Human cultures exhibit both similarities and differences. We all, for example, have systems of beliefs, knowledge, values, and traditions. Each system also is unique. In a democratic and multicultural society, students need to understand multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points. This understanding will allow them to relate to people in our nation and throughout the world.
Cultures are dynamic and ever-changing. The study of culture prepares students to ask and answer questions such as: What are the common characteristics of different cultures? How do belief systems, such as religion or political ideals of the culture, influence the other parts of the culture? How does the culture change to accommodate different ideas and beliefs? What does language tell us about the culture? In schools, this theme typically appears in units and courses dealing with geography, history, and anthropology, as well as multicultural topics across the curriculum.
NCSS Standard 1

Standard 5 (Individuals, Institutions, and Groups)- Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.
Institutions such as schools, churches, families, government agencies, and the courts all play an integral role in our lives. These and other institutions exert enormous influence over us, yet institutions are no more than organizational embodiments to further the core social values of those who comprise them. Thus, it is important that students know how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how they control and influence individuals and culture, and how institutions can be maintained or changed. The study of individuals, groups, and institutions, drawing upon sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines, prepares students to ask and answer questions such as: What is the role of institutions in this and other societies? How am I influenced by institutions? How do institutions change? What is my role in institutional change? In schools, this theme typically appears in units and courses dealing with sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, and history.
NCSS Standard 5


Flip cameras, webcams, digital cameras, 1:1 laptops


A class from the Unites States will partner with a class from another country to discover how culture influences school and to compare school traditions.

Assignments and activities will be posted on a Wiki. Students from both classes will be able to post products, comments, and questions on the Wiki.

Using a laptop, webcam and projector, the classes will meet over Skype. The teachers will introduce the project and give an overview of learning goals, objectives, and intended outcomes. Students will introduce themselves by name as they meet each other for the first time.

Using a Ning, students will write a short biography and read the biographies of students in their partner class.

See Meghans profile to get an idea!

After meeting on Skype and sharing on the Ning, students will contribute to a KWL Chart posted on Google Docs to determine what they already know and want to learn about their partner class.

The Google Doc KWL chart from both schools will be posted on a large chart in the classrooms and on the Wiki to help guide inquiry questions throughout the unit.

KWL Chart
Please fill in what you would know and what you would like to know about schools, here and abroad. We will fill out what he have learned at the end of the unit.
Want to Know

Inquiry Learning

Groups of three or four will be assigned to investigate and report on a specific aspect of their school and culture. Areas of investigation will be: age of students at grade levels, courses of study, school day length, celebrations/holidays/summer vacation, dress code, and the roles of government, economy, religion, and geography in school. Current trends of students will be highlighted. In addition, students will work to answer questions posed by students in their partner school as shown on the KWL chart and through virtual meetings on Skype.

A link will be posted on the Wiki with a Delicious bookmark so that students can conduct research and answer key questions about countries, culture and schooling.

Google Earth will allow students from both classes to visit their counterpart country.

Technology Products

Groups will use LetterPop to report about the aspect of their culture and school they researched. These will be posted to Wiki for students from both countries view and leave comments.

Students will use the delicious link trail (as created by the teacher) to gather information about their topic.
This exmaple will show a group of links that students could use to gather information about US schools and religion.


They will then use letter pop to create a report on the information they have found.

Example 1

Students will use Letterpop as well, to show characteristics of themselves and their culture as it relates to school. These videos will also be posted to the Ning.

Example 1

Culminating Activity

To demonstrate learning, each class will create a video about their partner country using a Flip Camera. Each student will share one thing they learned and demonstrate with an artifact and/or verbally. The video clips will be compiled into a class video using Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.

Students will say goodbye to their partner class in Skype and the culminating videos will be shared on the Ning.