People like knowing how things compare. They want to know who was first/last, who has the most/least of something, what is the highest/lowest or biggest/smallest, etc. Comparisons can be interesting trivia, but they can also help us put information in context.
CultureGrams makes it easy to discover comparative statistical information through our data tables, whether it’s our standard tables or through the customized data tables you can create for yourself. Take the States Edition, for example. Do you want to know the first/last state to be admitted to the Union? Would you like to find out which states have the largest/smallest populations or which are most/least densely populated? What about the states with the highest/lowest percentages of foreign-born residents, females, or high school graduates? We’ve compiled a list of such questions that could be used as a quiz or a research assignment. For answers to the questions and much more, check out our States Edition Graphs and Tables page (we’ll also include the answers in the Comments area of this post).
- Which was the first state to be added to the Union?
- Which was the last state to be added to the Union?
- Which is the largest state in terms of total area?
- Which is the smallest state in terms of total area?
- Which state has the largest population?
- Which state has the smallest population?
- Which is the most densely populated state?
- Which is the least densely populated state?
- Which state grew the fastest between 2010 and 2015?
- Which state grew the slowest between 2010 and 2015?
- Which state has the highest percentage of females?
- Which state has the lowest percentage of females?
- Which state has the highest percentage of foreign-born residents?
- Which state has the lowest percentage of foreign-born residents?
- Which state has the highest percentage of people under 18 years old?
- Which state has the lowest percentage of people under 18 years old?
- Which state has the highest percentage of graduates from high school?
- Which state has the lowest percentage of graduate from high school?
- Which state has the highest median household income?
- Which state has the lowest median household income?
- Which state has the highest average travel time to work?
- Which state has the lowest average travel time to work?
Let us know how you do. And are you surprised by any of the answers to these questions?
It’s time for an annual update on what we’ve added to CultureGrams in the past year. Our editorial team is definitely not standing still. The product just keeps getting better and better as we push forward on our commitment to providing high quality cultural, historical, and geographical information.
This is just a partial list of accomplishments from 2016.
- We added 24 new Kids Edition country reports to CultureGrams and are very near to completing that edition. Only two more countries to go and we’ll have reports for every country in the World Edition. That should happen in early 2017
- We added 46 new interviews to the Faces of the World Interview collection.
- CultureGrams is now integrated with Google Drive and Google Classroom.
- We expanded our multimedia offerings by adding 430 new gallery photos, 73 new slideshows, and 102 new videos to CultureGrams.
- We updated the Average Person infographics, which depict the demographic characteristics of a hypothetical average person in each country, highlighting factors such as income level, family size, language, and religion.
- We updated all of our data tables.
- We’re continuing with our regular and ongoing process of major updates and reviews of all CultureGrams reports and other content by native and in-country experts.
And the work continues in 2017. We’re already busy adding interviews, photos, slideshows, video, etc. And we’re always working to improve our existing content. Stay tuned for what is to come!
By the way, if we haven’t said so recently or often enough, we really appreciate your interest in CultureGrams. We have fantastic customers and we are very grateful for you!
Can you list the ten largest countries in the world? What about the smallest? Can you name the ten most populous countries? The ten countries with the youngest or oldest populations? Do you know which countries have the most women in parliament or the fewest internet users? What countries have the largest number of airports or the smallest number of physicians per 10,000 people. For answers to these and many other questions, check out CultureGrams Extremes Data Tables. These fascinating tables list top and bottom ten countries in a variety of categories. Links to the tables can be found in the lower portion of the left navigation bar on our Graphs and Tables page.
But these top ten and bottom ten tables aren’t included merely as a source of geographical and cultural trivia. They can also foster discussion and critical thinking. Students might be asked to think about why particular countries are on a specific Extremes table and what those countries have in common. For example, what do countries with a low population density have in common? What factors might result in certain countries having high or low life expectancy?
Also, they could discuss the impact of a country being very high or low in a particular category. What impact does it have on a country if it has low public school enrollment or high life expectancy? What effect might an aging population have on a country? What about a very young population?
And another option might be to look at some of the tables and consider how certain data in the tables might be misinterpreted. If one looks at the countries with the highest public spending on education, does that mean that those populations are the best educated? Why or why not?
Although they make up only a small part of the CultureGrams database, the Extremes tables are a tool that will yield valuable insights to those who are able to think critically about what is revealed in the numbers.
Are you looking for an engaging way to help your students learn about the countries of the world? We just want to remind you that we’ve put together a scavenger hunt that will help them do that, and students will become familiar with some of the content and features available in the CultureGrams World Edition as well. The activity requires students (either individually or in groups) to answer a series of questions on an assigned country by “scavenging” through the product. And in the process, they learn about some of our standard CultureGrams categories, plus features like the Currency Converter, Data Tables, Famous People, Photos, and Recipes.
Most of the questions are factual in nature, but there are critical thinking questions as well. The scavenger hunt can be an activity that you use on its own or it can be a way to teach students how to use CultureGrams for country research as preparation for working on their own.
Check it out by clicking here. Enjoy!
A great way to foster critical thinking and engaged learning in your students is to help them learn to ask good questions, to push beyond the obvious, to see purely factual data points in a broader context. Asking good questions promotes independent thinking, stimulates curiosity, increases understanding, and helps people see how seemingly disparate ideas connect.
We encourage teachers to use CultureGrams to promote critical thinking in their classrooms. There are many ways to do so. You might ask students, for example, why many major metropolitan areas are often located in coastal areas or near major waterways. Take Australia, China, Canada, or Brazil, for example. Look at where many of the largest cities are concentrated. Why aren’t the cities scattered more evenly across these countries? The answers to these questions may vary, depending on the country. You could discuss the significance of trade and access to foreign markets; the importance of water to sustain life and as a means of travel; the influence of history, geography, and climate on settlement and growth; etc. Encourage students to ask why things are the way they are. This can lead them to insights they may not have had previously.
You could also ask students to think about what countries in a particular region have in common besides just occupying a particular part of the world. Have students think about the many of the island nations of Oceania, for instance. Do they share common geographical features or similar climates? Are there common languages, a common religion, or similar cultural attitudes? How do their economies compare? What common challenges do countries in Oceania face? Also, what differentiates countries in the region? And what is the impact of these similarities and differences on the region as a whole?
Another fruitful area of exploration might be to ask students how the content in one CultureGrams category impacts the content in another. How does the land and climate in a particular country influence the economy? How has a country’s history shaped its linguistic or religious development? How do a culture’s attitudes about family affect how they view dating and marriage?
And lastly, you could ask students to compare statistical data between two or more countries. What does the data reveal? How can the differences in data be explained? For example, below is a customized table that provides data related to health and life expectancy for Belgium and Uganda. What does the data reveal? What might be some of the root causes for the differences in the numbers?
To be clear, teachers will need to monitor these kinds of activities/discussions to make sure that students are coming to sound conclusions and not speculating wildly about cause and effect. But that process in itself can be useful in teaching students how to analyze factual information.
Of course, there are many other areas in CultureGrams that you could use to foster critical thinking, but we hope this gets you started thinking of some of the possibilities. Please let us know if you have any great ideas on this topic or if you come up with interesting activities that foster critical thinking.
Our Faces of the World Interviews are one of the most popular features in CultureGrams. Users enjoy learning about how ordinary individuals–both adults and children–within a particular country see the world, what they do each day, what they worry about, what matters to them, etc. The interviews provide an intimate glimpse into what daily life is like for these people. Occasionally, however, users have questions about some of the content in the interviews. So we would like to clarify our editorial policy as it relates to the Faces of the World Interviews.
- The interviews represent the views of native inhabitants of various countries around the world. They are a reflection of how those individuals see their lives and the countries and cultures they live in. We don’t edit the interviews for content unless there is something that is incomprehensible or unless they say something that would be inappropriate for our users. As much as possible, we try to preserve the original voice and thoughts of the interviewees, only editing for clarity’s sake, as needed.
- Although our collection of interviews is growing, the total number is still relatively small (400+), so we make no claims that the small number of interviews we offer per country are necessarily representative of majority views within a particular country. These people speak for themselves. We expect that there will be greater variety as we add more interviews, but there is no way that a small number of interviews can adequately represent the whole or capture the diversity of opinion and experience within an entire country.
- In a few rare instances, users have suggested that some of the opinions represented in the interviews are overly negative. However, as noted above, the goal of these interviews is to have real people tell us what their daily lives are like and what matters to them. It is their opinions that count when it comes to the interviews, not ours. Also, our goal with CultureGrams more broadly isn’t about promoting any particular country. Instead, we aim to capture some of the diversity of human experience and to do so honestly. And we attempt to present this information as fairly and objectively as we can.
Do want to impress your friends with the breadth of your cultural and geographic knowledge of the United States? Do you want to provide your students with a learning opportunity that is sure to engage their interest? One way to do that is to learn about the state symbols for your state. Or even better, become familiar with symbols for other states as well. You can find this content in the CultureGrams States Edition, under Fun Facts & Contacts in the left navigation bar. Once you’re there, you’ll find the state bird (and its associated bird call), the state tree, the state flower, and other state symbols for every state. Plus, you will find a list of other interesting state symbols. You may even find some more unusual symbols such as a state cookie, a state musical instrument, a state dance, a state insect, and even a state firearm. Who doesn’t want to know these fun facts?
For a classroom activity, you could assign students to dig a little deeper, assigning them to do further research on these symbols. They could find out more information about the symbols themselves, or discover why the symbols were chosen to represent their state. Furthermore, you could divide your students into small groups and ask each group to give a brief presentation on a symbol or make a poster to hang up in the classroom.
Whatever approach you choose, students are bound to be curious about the plants, animals, rocks, foods, fossils, and songs that represent their state.
Students of all ages love creative projects where they can use their imaginations to create something that is both fun to make and is a reflection of their personalities. So if you’d like to find a creative educational project for your class, we have just the thing for you. This activity from our CultureGrams Teaching Activities PDF provides an opportunity for students to learn about national flags and how they represent a country’s culture and values. Students will also have a chance to draw upon what they learn in studying national flags to create flags that represent their own values, interests, and culture.
Objective Students will discuss the symbolism and meaning of various national flags and then create flags to represent themselves.
Grade level K–5
Preparation: 40 minutes
In-class: 50 hours
- Art materials—construction paper, scissors, glue, pens, etc.
- Various international flags (all are available in the CultureGrams Flag Gallery)
- Introduce the concept of flags as works of art that use color, design, and symbols to convey meaning.
- Show students the international flags you have selected and explain the symbols used on them. (If you have a subscription to CultureGrams, each country’s flag image and interpretation is available on its landing page.) For example, in the flag of South Africa, the colors symbolize the unity of the nation’s races. In the flag of the United Kingdom, the crosses represent England, Scotland, and Ireland. In the flag of Greece, the cross symbolizes the Greek Orthodox Church.
- Assign students to create a unique flag representing themselves, their family, or their city, state, or country of birth. Encourage them to find colors and symbols that stand for something important to them.
- Have students display their flags for the class and explain their use of color, symbolism, and design
CultureGrams has a Flag Gallery for both the World and Kids editions as well as for the States and Provinces editions. So there are plenty of flags for students to look at as examples.
The United States hasn’t always had 50 states. That number has grown over time as states were admitted to the Union. So let’s see if you can correctly identify the order that the ten selected states below were added to the United States. You don’t need to know the precise dates of statehood, but we challenge you to put the following list of states in chronological order, starting with the earliest state first, according to when they were admitted to the Union. If you aren’t sure, you are welcome to make educated guesses based on your knowledge of history and geography
- New Mexico
When you are done with your list, you can check your answers against the answer key in the comments section. You can also see a complete list of the dates and order of statehood for all the states here in CultureGrams.