CultureGrams Regional Quiz: The Middle East

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Guinea-Bissau

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

Guinea-Bissau Kids Edition Report

Guinea-Bissau Kids Edition Report

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

Here are some fascinating Did You Knows about Guinea-Bissau:

  • Electricity is not available in many parts of the country, so most people have solar panels on their roofs.
  • Bissau-Guineans usually bring gifts of sugar, kola nuts (which contain caffeine), or tobacco when they are invited to someone’s home.
  • Listening to the radio is more popular than watching television in Guinea-Bissau, as most people do not own televisions.
  • Mothers usually wear their babies on their backs while they work in the fields.

Find out about popular street foods, read about a unique music and dance style called gumbe, and discover how Bissau-Guineans celebrate Carnaval all in this colorful new report.


CultureGrams—Teaching Activities: A Postcard from Canada

Did you know that CultureGrams offers almost 80 free teaching activities to its subscribers? 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.


Map of Canada from Provinces Edition

A Postcard from Canada

Grade Level: K–5


Research a Canadian province and create a post card depicting the highlights of the area.

National curriculum standard(s):

National Standards for Social Studies People, Places, and Environments

  • Standard H [Early Grades]: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments, so that the learner can examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the used of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.
  • Standard G [Early Grades]: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments, so that the learner can describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like.

(Developed by the National Council for the Social Studies)


Time Requirement Preparation: 15 minutes

In-class: 1 hour Materials

CultureGrams Provinces Edition Instructions

  • Have students choose a Canadian province they would most like to visit. Each student should read their province’s CultureGrams report, making notes about things that are unique to the province and things that attract visitors. They should also pay special attention to the Official Emblems section.
  • On 4×6 index cards, have students design post cards showing some of the highlights and unique traits of the province. Students may also want to incorporate one or more of the provinces’ official emblems, or they may do research to find some unofficial emblems.
  • On the back of the post card, have students write a message as though they were visiting the province and writing home. They should think about what they would want to do while in Canada, what difficulties they might run into, and what differences they would expect to find between their home and the province they are visiting.

Extension Activity:

Have students pretend that they are from the province they researched. If they were visiting the area in which the students live, what kind of post card would they send home? What would they want to be featured on the front? What would they write on the back? Have students design a post card for their area and write a message on the back to their family at home in Canada.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Kyrgyzstan

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

Kyrgyzstan Kids Edition Detail Map

Kyrgyzstan Kids Edition Detail Map


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

Here are some fascinating Did You Knows about Kyrgyzstan:

  • The term Kyrgyz is the Turkic word for “40” and refers to the 40 historical Kyrgyz tribes.
  • One of the reasons why the Great Wall of China was built was to keep out Kyrgyz warriors.
  • Kyrgyzstanis greatly respect bread, and leftover pieces are never thrown away or wasted.
  • To protect a newborn from evil spirits, the baby cannot be seen by anyone except family for the first 40 days after birth.

Find out about Nowruz  in Kyrgyzstan, discover common snack foods , and read about bargaining at bazaars all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Tajikistan

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

Tajikistan map

Tajikistan Kids Edition Detail Map

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

Here are some fascinating Did You Knows about Tajikistan:

  • In Tajikistan, village elders keep the art of storytelling alive by gathering the youth and sharing stories that often feature a hero and a lesson, or moral.
  • In Persian, taj means “crown,” so some people believe Tajik means a crown-wearer.
  • To keep Tajikistanis from overspending, the law limits the number of guests and amount of food a family can serve at a wedding.
  • Tajikistan is the smallest country in central Asia.

Find out about the ancient spring festival Nowruz, discover how to barter for goods at a local bazaar, and read about life as a kid in Tajikistan all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams—Teaching Activities: Race Around the World


Looking for new ways to incorporate CultureGrams into the classroom? Look no further than CultureGrams’ Teaching Activities (link to PDF is located at the bottom the website page). This collection of 80 engaging activities is organized by grade level and activity type and also explains the national curriculum standard correlation. Check out a sample game below:


Time requirement:

Preparation: 40 minutes In-class: 50 minutes, if reading is done as homework

Materials Needed:

CultureGrams Kids Edition


1. Select four or five countries you would like the students to study as a class. Then have the students read the Kids Edition report for those countries. This may be done during class time or as homework assignments, spread out over several days.

2. Have each student create quiz questions about his or her country based on the reading. The students should not make the questions too difficult, as the questions may be asked of members of their own team during the upcoming Race Around the World activity.

3. Compile the questions together and distribute them to the class to allow students to prepare. You may wish to have some as “questions of the day” in the lead-up to the activity.

4. Mark a number of cities as “pit stops” on a world map. The students’ hometown should be the first and final pit stop.

5. For the Race Around the World, divide the students into teams. Each team should be represented by a symbol on the world map (e.g., different-colored airplanes). In turn, ask each team a question from those the class has submitted. With each correct answer, the team’s marker should be moved to the next “pit stop” on the map. The first team to travel around the globe to the original destination wins the game.


Enjoyed this activity? Explore more teaching activities on CultureGrams!


CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Benin

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

Benin Kids Edition Report

Benin Kids Edition Report

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

Here are some fascinating Did You Knows about Benin:

  • Benin is home to an endangered species of manatee (sea cow) called the West African manatee.
  • Many Beninese believe in Vodun, a traditional religion that is often called voodoo. Slaves from Benin brought Vodun to the Americas and the Caribbean.
  • Northern Beninese often eat West African yams, which can be up to 7 feet (2 m) long and weigh 120 pounds (54 kg)!
  • Women who sell goods at the market leave hours before dawn to walk there. They carry heavy piles of goods on their heads, often with babies strapped to their backs.

Find out about common market foods, discover how Beninese celebrate the Egungun festival, and read about Benin’s lake town built on stilts all in this colorful new report.

Ramadan Fun Facts


Ramadan drummers awaken people at the start of the fasting day. Baghdad, Iraq

On 18 June 2015, Muslims all over the world began their month-long fast in observance of the holy Islamic holiday of Ramadan.  While many people know that Ramadan means no eating during the day and large parties at night, some may not know these facts about the special holiday.

1) Ramadan is celebrated on different dates each year.

Ramadan is celebrated during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is believed to be when the Quran (Muslim holy book) was reveled to the prophet Muhammed. Like other Islamic holidays, dates are determined by the lunar calendar, which is based on phases of the moon. Each year, Islamic scholars gather to spot the moon that will mark the beginning of Ramadan. Some Muslims don’t agree on the same dates so different sects may start and end their fast on different dates.

2) Speaking of dates….

Dates are traditionally consumed before the fast-breaking meal called iftar, as a way to raise the blood sugar after a long day of fasting. In the Middle East, especially during the month of Ramadan, markets are filled to the brim with different variety of dates.

3) Ramadan is a time of charity.

Ramadan is a time when people are especially charitable. Muslims often donate to charity during this time and local charities host public iftars to feed the poor.

4) Not everyone has to fast.

There are some exceptions to who has to fast. People who are traveling, sick, pregnant, elderly, and very young do not have to take part in the fast. Though fasting is difficult, Muslim look forward to the opportunity to abstain from food and drink, bad language, and other physical excesses and enjoy a time of reflection and peace.

5) Television ratings skyrocket.

Ramadan is a time fro family gatherings and nothing brings the family together better than a religious/historical miniseries. Arabic networks produce special Ramadan shows that attract millions of viewers from across the Muslim world.


Want to learn more about Ramadan traditions and practices? Check out CultureGrams Holiday sections in World and Kids.

New on CultureGrams: Average Person Infographics


Denmark Average Person Infographic

CultureGrams editors are excited to announce the addition of a new feature to the World and Kids Editions. The Average Person Infographics! These colorful infographics, based on statistical averages and other measures taken from the CultureGrams data tables, highlight factors such as income level, family size, language, religion and more.


  • Thumbnails and descriptions are available on World and Kids landing pages
  •  A high-res PDF is available for printing
  • Statistical sources are listed at the bottom of each file
  • A citation generator is available for this feature at the bottom of the enlarged image box
  • Each infographic will be updated yearly

More Infographics

SIRS Issues Researcher’s new one-click infographics feature also has a variety of informative infographics and their Common Core-aligned guide, Understanding Infographics, will help students analyze three major components of an infographic: layout, content, and story.

Want to learn more about infographics and how they meet Common Core Standards? Click here.


CultureGrams: Global Gestures

All over the world, people use hand gestures, facial expressions, and body posture to express themselves. But keep in mind that some gestures that are acceptable in one culture may be considered offensive in another culture. In CultureGrams World reports, our Gestures sections describe and explain some of the non-verbal communication used in each country.



Here are some examples of gestures from CultureGrams reports that may be considered rude:

Argentina: Pointing with the index finger.

Egypt: Showing the bottom of one’s foot to another person.

Senegal: Receiving or giving objects with just the left hand

Bhutan: Touching someone’s head

Russia: Shaking hands through a doorway is believed to be bad luck


Explore more gestures at CultureGrams! They may help you on your next trip.