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CultureGrams’ Teaching Activities: One Religion, Many Practices

Looking for new ways to incorporate CultureGrams into the classroom? Look no further than CultureGrams’ collection of over 75 teaching activities! This collection of educationally engaging activities is organized by grade level and activity type. Each activity also includes a national curriculum standard correlation.  If you don’t have access to CultureGrams, enjoy this free teaching activity today and sign up for a free trial of the product to access more.

One Religion, Many Practices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Standards for Social Studies

 Culture

  • Standard C [Middle Grades]: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity, so that the learner can explain and give examples of how language, literature, the arts, architecture, other artifacts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behaviors contribute to the development and transmission of culture.
  • Standard E [Middle Grades]: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity, so that the learner can articulate the implications of cultural diversity, as well as cohesion, within and across groups.

Developed by the National Council for the Social Studies

Standards for Geography Human Systems

  • Standard 10: The geographically informed person knows and understands the characteristics, distributions, and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics.

Developed by the National Council for Geographic Education

Grade level:

6–8

Objective:

Students will compare the practice of a single religion across multiple countries and interviews.

Time requirement:

Preparation: 10 minutes

In-class: 1 hour and 30 minutes, two different days

Materials:

CultureGrams World Edition

CultureGrams Online Edition—Interviews

Instructions:

1. Have students read three interviews with people who practice the same religion. The interviews featured below represent the perspectives of three Muslims from Kuwait, Mali, and Syria. Students can also find religion excerpts about Catholicism (Javier: Bolivia, Trina: Costa Rica, and Petrosse: Mozambique) and Buddhism (Sai: Cambodia, Dawa: Nepal, and Chhun: Cambodia) just to name a few.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. What differences do students notice in the way the interviewees practice their religion? Differences may be found in how often a person attends worship services, how important they consider religion in their life, ways they worship, and holidays they celebrate.

3. Now have students read the Religion section of each interviewee’s country in the World Edition report. What do these sections say about the religion? How does the information in the report compare to the information in the interviewees’ answers? How does the practice of the religion vary between countries?

4. Have students write a short essay on their observations about the ways a single religion varies in different areas and between individual observers of that religion. They may also speculate on why this could be.

Try out CultureGrams’ Teaching activities in your classroom and let us know what you think by tweeting us @CultureGrams.

A Taste of Morocco: Recipe from CultureGrams

One of the best (and definitely the most delicious) ways to experience a new culture is by sampling the local cuisine! On a recent trip to Morocco, I seized every opportunity I had during my short stay to experience the many sights, smells, and flavors of Fez. My first stop was at a little restaurant where I was served a little bowl of spiced heaven, called harira. Many people have heard of Morocco’s famous chicken tagine and couscous but harira, a traditional Moroccan soup made from lamb, lentils, and chickpeas, is equally authentic and delectable.

With over 1,000 recipes from around the world, CultureGrams makes it possible for users to experience a new culture in their very own kitchens. Feeling adventurous as well as hungry? Try out this authentic Moroccan Harira recipe from CultureGrams and bon appétit! Or as they say in Morocco, Sahten! (صحتين), which literally means “two healths.”

Harira is the traditional meal eaten to break the fast during Ramadan; it usually is served with dates, figs, and special sweets called chabakiya. Photo by Jenni Boyle

 

Harira

Ingredients
Broth:
1 pound lamb, cut in small pieces
1 small onion, minced
1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight (or from a can)
2 pounds canned crushed tomatoes
2 quarts water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
6 to 7 strands saffron (soaked in a few tablespoons of hot water)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper
2/3 teaspoon ginger
1 cube bouillon (optional)
Salt

Other ingredients:
1/3 cup lentils
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup rice
1/4 cup broken up angel hair pasta
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
Salt
3 tablespoons flour
1 egg

Directions
1. Cook the lentils in salted water. When done, drain them and squeeze the lemon over them. Set aside.
2. Cook all of the broth ingredients in a soup pot over low heat for 50 to 60 minutes, or enough time to cook the meat and the chickpeas.
3. Add the rice, pasta, cilantro, and salt. Allow to simmer another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Mix the flour with a little water to form a paste and then add this to the soup a little bit at a time; stir constantly to avoid lumps.
5. Add the lentils and let cook for another 5 minutes. Harira should be creamy but not thick. If it is thick, add water and cook for a few more minutes; if it is too thin, thicken with more flour-and-water paste.
6. Some break an egg into the soup during the last 5 minutes of cooking and mix it well to keep it liquid.
7. Serve in bowls with lemon wedges on the side for those who want to add it to their soup.

Have you ever tried making a recipe from CultureGrams? Tweet us @CultureGrams and lets us know how it turned out.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Togo

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of Togo via CultureGrams

The new Togo report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about the Togo:

  • Togo is believed to have been named after a town on the shore of Lake Togo. The name comes from the Ewe words to (water) and go (shore).
  • Most homes in Togo do not have running water, so fetching water is a common daily chore for children.
  • Among the Ewe, babies are named after the day of the week they are born but are often given a personal first name as well.
  • To show respect, young people kneel when greeting an elder.

Read about the annual Evala festival, life as a kid, and traditional foods, all in this colorful new report.

New Year Traditions Around the World

New year in Kiev [CC BY-SA 3.0 tov_tob Wikimedia Commons]

New Year in Kiev [CC BY-SA 3.0 tov_tob Wikimedia Commons]

New Year’s (Jan. 1) is the most widely celebrated public holiday around the world, and in addition to staying up till midnight and partying with family and friends, many countries have their own unique traditions and customs to mark this holiday. Here are our top ten favorite New Year holiday traditions from around the world. Find more in the Holiday sections of CultureGrams World and Kids Editions.

1. Colombia

Colombians wear yellow underwear on New Year’s because they believe it will bring good fortune.

2. Guinea-Bissau

A common traditional belief encourages Bissau-Guineans to take a bath right at midnight in the New Year in order to cleanse one’s self of bad luck and pass into the new year with a fresh start.

3. Czech Republic

Czechs exchange small marzipan candies or paper cards in the shape of pigs for good luck in the new year.

4. Ecuador

Some superstitious New Year rituals include burning and jumping over the año viejo ( an effigy, literally meaning “old year”) for good luck, eating 12 raisins to ask for 12 wishes for the new year, wearing red underwear for good luck in love, and running around the block with an empty suitcase in hopes of travel opportunities in the new year.

5. Spain 

The Spanish wait for midnight and watch New Year’s television programming to see the clock strike 12; with each stroke, each person eats a grape.

6. Japan

The Japanese visit shrines and relatives during this time. Children receive money from their parents or grandparents. Families put up special decorations and eat special foods, such as mochi (pounded sticky rice).

7. Tonga

On New Year’s Eve, Tongans typically attend a midnight church service. Afterward, church groups proceed to the palace, where they greet and present gifts to the king. People also pay visits to family members and close friends, exchanging kisses to welcome the new year.

8. Russia

Almost every Russian family decorates a fir tree a week or two before the holiday and decorates it with glass balls, toys, and garlands. Underneath the tree, families place a figure of Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz). Russians traditionally exchange and eat mandarin oranges on New Year’s Day.

9. Bulgaria

On New Year’s Day, Bulgarian children go door-to-door, wishing good fortune to friends and relatives. The children carry a small decorated stick (survachka) which is used to tap people’s backs in exchange for candy and money.

10. Philippines

In the Philippines, everyone watches a fireworks display in town plazas or parks at midnight. Fireworks displays are traditionally thought to banish the bad spirits of the previous year.

Share some of your traditions with us. We would love to hear from you. Happy 2017!

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: São Tomé and Príncipe

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

F;ag of São Tomé and Príncipe via CultureGrams

Flag of São Tomé and Príncipe via CultureGrams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new São Tomé and Príncipe report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some fascinating Did You Knows about São Tomé and Príncipe:

  • São Tomé and Príncipe is Africa’s second-smallest country by population.
  • The country’s islands are actually extinct (not active) volcanoes.
  • The island of São Tomé is located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of the island of Príncipe.
  • São Tomé and Príncipe was one of the first African countries to grow cocoa, which was introduced by the Portuguese in the 18th century.

Find out about popular children’s games on the islands, read about traditional street plays, and discover what life is like as a kid, all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Niue

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of Niue via CultureGrams

Flag of Niue via CultureGrams

The new Niue (pronounced “new-eh”) report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some fascinating Did You Knows about Niue:

  • A popular name for Niue is Rock of Polynesia.
  • There are no rivers or streams on Niue.
  • One traditional Niuean myth tells the story of the island being created when it was fished out of the sea with a hook by the Polynesian god Maui.
  • Coconut cream is an important ingredient in traditional Niuean cooking.

 

Find out about cooking in an underground oven, read about the traditional Niuean takalo (war dances), and discover what life is like as a kid, all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Gabon

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Gabon Kids Edition Report

Gabon Kids Edition Report

The new Gabon report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some fascinating Did You Knows about Gabon:

  • Gabon’s national motto in French is Union, Travail, Justice (“Unity, Work, Justice”).
  • Traditional storytelling, which is often sung and accompanied by instruments, is a common art form today.
  • The name Gabon is thought to have come from the Portuguese word for cloak, gabao, which was used by explorers to describe the shape of the Komo River.
  • About 80 percent of Africa’s gorilla population lives in Gabon.

Find out about favorite fried snacks, read about popular kid games, and discover what life is like as a kid, all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams: Now with Google Drive Integration

CultureGrams is excited to announce the addition of brand new feature to our site, Google Drive integration! CultureGrams users can now export any text from the World, Kids, States, and Provinces Editions directly to their Google Drives. This important new functionality allows students and teachers to more easily integrate CultureGrams content into their daily cloud-based workflow. Curious to see how it works? Check out the demo video below to see how you can start saving your favorite cultural reports, recipes, famous people, and interviews to your Google Drive. Enjoy!

CultureGrams: Frou-Frou Recipe

Malian woman prepares frou-frou to sell. Image via CultureGrams

Malian woman prepares frou-frou to sell. Image via CultureGrams                  

Who doesn’t love pancakes? In Mali, millet pancakes, or frou-frou, are a very popular street food.  People often stop on their way to work and buy frou-frou and tea from street vendors.

Enjoy this authentic Malian recipe for frou-frou from CultureGrams‘ collection of hundreds of recipes from around the world.

Frou-frou

Ingredients:
2 cups millet, bean, or wheat flour
1 teaspoon okra powder
1 teaspoon salt
Water, as needed
Oil, as needed

Directions:
1) Mix dry ingredients.
2) Add enough water to achieve a dough-like consistency.
3) Beat the dough vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes to aerate.
4) Heat oil in a pot with a rounded bottom or in a tin with rounded holds that can be placed over a flame.
5) Add spoonfuls of dough to the hot oil. Remove from pan or tin when dough is fried on both sides and cooked through the middle, approximately 2 or 3 minutes for each cake.
6) Serve hot or cold and with salt or sugar sprinkled on top.

CultureGrams Regional Quiz: The Middle East