*Windows on the World Field Trip

Trailhead ---- Teacher's Resources ---- Start Field Trip
 

 

You can scroll down the page to see the following activities or click on a specific activity link.

Activities List  
Country Reports What time is it?
Flags Around the Room Where am I?
Health and Life Expectancy Who ya gonna call?
International Traffic Signs Windows on the World
International Make a List Word Fun
International Maps Write a letter: Request information
International Money Match Write a letter: Dear Cousin Gertrude
International Multi-cultural Calendar Xpeditions (National Geographic)
Twenty Questions
   

These resources are by no means a complete unit of study; they are meant to provide ideas from which teachers can develop lesson plans that fit their own teaching styles. Many of these activities integrate more than one area of study, such as math and social studies or language arts and geography. Feel free to use and alter these as you see fit!

Many of the sites on the field trip provide relevant information; however, for your convenience, a few sites have been listed below each suggested activity. For most of these projects, it would be a good idea for the teacher to provide students with a list of requirements, plus ideas for extra or alternative facts to be included, such as a map, the flag, national anthem, continent on which country is located, major languages spoken, and so forth.

Also, some activities such as "Where am I?" and "Twenty Questions" may work better if students are paired with students from another classroom, so that students have not had the opportunity to observe which country their classmates are studying.

Country Reports

Depending upon the resources available, this project could extend well beyond the traditional notebook-based project. Students could create travel brochures, presentations using PowerPoint or ClarisWorks, or even web pages to display the results of their studies (note the Multimedia resources, below). "Country cards", similar to sports cards, with enough produced for each member of the class, are another possibility. How about a "board game" created to provide players with a tour of the country? (Some teachers provide students with take-out pizza boxes (unused ones!) for this last project.)

The Bureau of Consular Affairs http://travel.state.gov

Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html

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Flags Around the Room

Each student can produce a two-sided flag of the country he or she is studying. The flags could be hung around the room or displayed on a bulletin board, creating a multicultural atmosphere while displaying student work. An accompanying worksheet or "quiz" could be developed, asking students to match flags and countries. Also, students can be asked to write about the history and meaning of symbols included on their country’s flag, and could present their findings to the class.

Flags and national anthems:

http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/docs/flagsoftheworld.html

http://www.imagesoft.net/flags/anthems.html

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Health and Life Expectancy

Besides having students simply research health concerns such as necessary immunizations needed to visit the country they are studying, another useful activity for older students might be a comparison of the U.S. with their country from the standpoint of birth rate, population growth rate, life expectancy, and literacy rates, then hypothesize why these might be different.

http://www.cdc.gov

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International traffic signs and road rules

Although this has some interest for all ages, it is especially fascinating to high school students, for whom driving is often an obsession. Create a worksheet or bulletin board where students match international signs to their meanings. Have students research their countries to find any unusual rules for driving, driving conditions, or rules contrary to commonly-accepted U.S. rules, e.g. no turn on a red light, traffic fines, and rights of way while driving. The fact that the minimum driving age is 18 in most European countries sparks interesting discussions at the high school level.

http://www.travlang.com/signs/

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Make a list

1) Ask students to create an EXACT list of what they would take on their trip--down to the last pair of socks!!

http://www.travel-library.com/rtw/html/rtwpacking.html

2) Working individually or in small groups, ask students to list the 10 most important safety tips to use when traveling abroad. Results could be shared with the class, and a "master list" compiled.

http://www.travel-library.com/rtw/html/rtwsafetycoll.html

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Maps

Besides the standard map-creating activity, students can use online resources to print a map detailing a day’s itinerary in the capital city of their country, or even a map that details how to get to their hotel.

http://www.mapblast.com

http://www.mapquest.com

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Money Match

Converting from US to foreign currencies is an excellent math activity. Use the "pocket converter" feature of the TravLang site (below) to create a model, and ask students to create their own page, using one of the other currency conversion pages. Also, students can print out photos of their country’s currency, which could be displayed on a bulletin board and/or used to provide information for a "match the currency to the country" activity.

http://www.xe.net/currency/

For older students, a discussion of the Euro, the new continent-wide currency adopted in some European countries as of January 1, 1999, is a must. See:

http://www.euro.ecb.int/

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Multi-cultural Calendar

As a class, create a multi-cultural calendar for the next year, listing international holidays and festivals. Students can work alone or in small groups to research holidays and festivals celebrated by the countries they are studying. Students can also submit illustrations representing the celebrations, and the class can vote or somehow select the 12 or 24 (if the illustration area is divided into two parts) they want to use. Produce enough calendars so that each student can take one home.

http://www.kidlink.org/KIDPROJ/MCC/

http://www.travlang.com/calendar/

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Twenty Questions

Working in pairs, one student tries to guess the country studied by another by asking "Yes or No" questions, such as:

  • Is the country an island or group of islands?
  • Is the country located on the European continent?
  • Is the country generally modern and industrialized?

Depending on the grade level of the student, the teacher could have the class brainstorm questions as a group and have all students use a common questionnaire or have students prepare questions on their own.

http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/

http://www.state.gov/

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What time is it?

Why is it a different time in London than it is here? What is Greenwich Mean Time? What is Zulu Time? What is the Prime Meridian? More than just a time conversion site, these and other questions are answered at:

http://GreenwichMeanTime.com/

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Where am I?

In this activity, students, working either alone or in small groups, create a list of facts about their country. Other students, either one-on-one or in groups, try to guess "where their classmate is" by accessing only one fact at a time. Facts could be collected and displayed in report form, on notecards, or even as links on a web page.

http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

http://travel.state.gov

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html

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Who ya gonna call?

Whom do you call if your luggage is stolen? Your passport? If you are (heaven forbid) arrested? Do U.S. citizens have any "rights" in other countries? These sites might also spark an interesting discussion about diplomacy and the differences and interrelation between embassies and consulates.

Federal Citizen Information Center http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov

http://www.embassy.org

The Bureau of Consular Affairs http://travel.state.gov

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Windows on the World

After students are assigned or choose a country of study, create an "airline ticket" for them, then place it with an arrow pointing to their destination on a world map placed on a bulletin board in the classroom. Students can then create an itinerary for a seven-day tour of their country. To ensure the quality of the learning experience it is helpful to require a certain number of historical, cultural, and political sites for students to include in their visit. Also, ask students to write a paragraph explaining why each site is important. Older students can be given a dollar amount and asked to create a travel budget–in both U.S. and "local" currency amounts. Students create a map and identify the capital and major cities and relationship to other geographic entities (such as countries and/or bodies of water) that play an important part in the country’s persona.

Depending on the grade level and class in which this unit is used, other information gathered could include the type and head of government, major political parties, and current political stability of the country, plus its population growth rate, life expectancy, literacy rate, gross domestic product, unemployment rate, inflation rate, economic system, major industries, and international environmental standard agreements.

For a junior or senior level economics class, an in-depth comparison of that country with the U.S., as well as an explanation for similarities and differences would be appropriate. For younger students, ask for a less in-depth comparison, perhaps on a more personal basis: How would your life be different if you lived in that country? These activities can be incorporated into "Country Reports" (see above), or used as stand-alone activities.

http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

http://www.state.gov/

http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html

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Word fun

If you don’t speak the language of your chosen country, the many resources here will help! Besides lists of foreign languages spoken in individual countries, there are also dictionaries, international holiday and festival calendars, a foreign word-of-the-day feature, and on-line multi-language word games. This site could generate many fun activities, such as collecting certain phrases in several languages or matching languages to countries. For example, many students may not realize that Brazilians speak Portuguese or that Dutch is the main language spoken in Belgium.

http://www.travlang.com

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Write a letter: Request information

This is a perfect opportunity for students to compose and send letters to the embassy of their chosen country, requesting information, brochures, maps, and other relevant information. In my experience, it is helpful for the teacher to brainstorm and/or model not only the format for a letter, but the words and phrases used as well. One of my students even received recipes!

http://www.embassy.org

http://www.lonelyplanet.com

http://www.travel.state.gov

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Write-a-letter: Dear Cousin Gertrude

Ask students to write a letter to their Cousin Gertrude and tell her about the itinerary they are planning for their trip. Suggest a certain number of days, and require that a certain number of specific types of sites be included, e.g., a seven-day trip with at least four historical, three cultural, and two political sites on the itinerary.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com

http://www.travelocity.com

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Xpeditions (National Geographic)

This fascinating and fun site is an activity center all of its own. Java and Apple’s QuickTime VR are used to create a highly interactive educational experiences through a unique collection of activities called Xpeditions. The Xpedition hall itself is interactive through the use of QuickTime VR, and allows visitors to experience an archaeological dig, to view the city of Jerusalem through the eyes of people in three different religions, and even to send electronic postcards.

http://www.nationalgeographic.org/xpeditions/

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