Class Activity Idea Teach Geography Using Drama Art and Lots of Fun
This school classroom activity could be run by a teacher or a parent who volunteers to come in and give the kids a lesson. It is a suitable class activity for grades 3 to 6.
The subject of this school classroom activity is geography and the differences and similarities between different cultures and nations. This class activity idea gives kids with all kinds of talents the opportunity to do something they enjoy and are good at, as there is an element of research for the academic types, art for the artists, public speaking for young orators and drama for budding actors.
Split the kids into small groups of 3 – 8 kids depending on the size of the class. You don't want too many groups as you will have to sit through each group's presentation of the class activity at the end. Ideally in a class of 30 kids make 6 groups at the most.
Create 4 tasks (I will describe them later) and sit down with the whole class to explain to them what needs to be done on each task. Give them a complete overview of what the classroom activity requires of them, this will save you time later on. Have the activity tasks printed up so that there is a copy for each group. Each group will need a country assigned to them; the best bet is to have them pick a country name from a hat or some other random method of assigning the countries.
Once you have explained the classroom activity tasks let the groups go off into separate areas, each group take a corner of the room, a part of the hallway/corridor or the school playground. Once they have worked on their class activity tasks for about 20 minutes bring them all back together to watch each others presentations.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS SCHOOL CLASSROOM ACTIVITY
*A world map.
*Fabric cut-offs or odds and ends of fancy dress costumes (hats, scarves, bags, jackets).
*A few props for a tea service or coffee shop (cups, tea pot, tray, apron, milk jug).
*Table and two chairs.
*Large piece of art paper and pens for each group.
*Books or Internet for researching the countries.
SCHOOL CLASS ACTIVITY TASKS
1. The location of the country on a world map.
The group needs to find it's country on a world map and be ready to point it out to the class during the presentation.
2. The country's vital statistics.
Print up a survey for the country, which will look a little like this:
a. Name of country?
b. Neighboring countries?
c. Country's language?
d. Country's weather?
e. Country's currency?
f. Country's most prominent religion?
g. Country's population?
h. Most famous sites in the country?
You can make this as long, short or complicated as you like. Make some encyclopedias or the Internet available for the research.
3. The flag.
The team needs to find a picture of the country's flag in a book and reproduce it on a large piece of art paper. You can make this more involved by getting them to make smaller flags or draw the flags on stickers to be given to all the class or just their team.
The idea is to take an almost identical script ( which you can create and supply them) of a scene where a man and women drink coffee/tea, and see how the kids present the scene as if it were in their country. You will have to do a little research yourself here, and vary the scripts slightly to suite the different countries. Although all of the scripts are of a tea/coffee drinking scene you need to write in the unique differences from culture to culture.
So for example in Japan they will need to do the traditional tea ceremony; in India they could buy milky tea from a street vendor; in an Arab country there may be only men in the cafe, or the women sitting separately. The seating arrangements will vary from country to country, some sitting on chairs, others on the floor. Try to pick countries where the traditions are different and the differences will stand out. The kids need to rehearse the scene, dress up, put make-up on (a red dot on the Indian forehead or Asian eyes for the Chinese) and then the scene needs to be presented to the class at the end. You can play around with the number of actors involved, but you will most likely need a man, woman and waiter/ tea server. If you have larger groups you can add children to the couple having tea or other clients in the cafe.
THE SCHOOL CLASSROOM ACTIVITY PRESENTATION
The class comes together after about 20 minutes of rehearsing and researching and one group at a time they stand and present their activity tasks. First one child points out the country on the world map. Another child raises the country's flag, and has it on display throughout the presentation. Then another reads out the vital statistics of the country. Finally the play is presented.
The resulting work – the flag, map and vital statistics can be displayed on the classroom wall the following week after the class activity is finished.
This classroom activity gives each child an opportunity to participate, whatever his strengths; requires group participation; is fun and educational. You write the script so make it as funny as you can. Choose at least one Arab country, Iran for example, and have the lady completely covered in black material. The man can order her drink for her to highlight the feminist issue. In India, a sari dress is easily improvised, and during the tea drinking the caste separations can be brought up. The scripts and presentation of the Japanese group should show the calm and slower pace of their traditions.
You can try to mention a reference to the different religions in each scene, for example the Arab nation could say thanks to Allah, and the Indian could mention going to temple to worship their gods. The actors can make references to the weather and other aspects that you want to illustrate.
Choose countries as diverse as possible, with different religions, climates, clothes and traditions. Don't make your country one of the nations you use as that's just too easy. When my children's school did this classroom activity we used India, Iran, Holland, Japan, Kenya and Israel.