Teaching in the fall is exciting; students are refreshed and engaged and the view is often breathtaking. Creating lesson plans that play off of the current season – it’s sights, smells, and rich history – can help students remember unique facts about other cultures and countries. The challenge to creating season-specific lesson plans is that Fall doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere in the world, or even everywhere in the United States. How can you incorporate Autumn into your geography lesson plans? Consider exploring how other cultures celebrate the Fall season with these great ideas:
1. Plan a mock vacation to another country during Fall months; use a stand-up easel to list items they should pack to match the local weather and culture and provide students with markers and cardstock to create their own passports. Create an itinerary that includes involvement in local cultural activities. What can students expect at each activity? What clothes should they wear? What will they eat?
2. Celebrate in the classroom. Consider using your geography hour to replicate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, Korea’s Chuseok, or the Southern Californian Chumash tribe’s fall sun ceremony, Hutash. Include foods and dress that characterize each of these celebrations and take the opportunity to teach students what each culture is celebrating and why. Mark off countries you’ve celebrated on a world map in the classroom.
3. Consider what harvest means around the world. Assign students a geographical area, whether it’s a continent, country, or state; and have them create one poster for each food that is grown and harvested there. Once all the posters are complete, initiate conversation regarding how our diets would be different if we weren’t able to receive goods from one continent, country or state. Which foods would we go without? Have the group create a recipe using the foods on the posters and send a copy home to try with family.
4. Learn about children around the world to demonstrate that responsibilities and privileges vary significantly from one culture to the next. Some children in your class, for example, may help with harvest at home or complete farm chores in the morning, while others have no obligations at all. Your students may be surprised to learn how children in other cultures participate in harvest. Allow students to choose any part of the world they would like, and request that they research that area of the world and write a report on the privileges and responsibilities of children in that culture. Using index cards, the students can present their findings to class and facilitate discussion.
These fun and engaging lesson plans will create a lasting impression on students of all ages while still celebrating and learning about Fall around the world.