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CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Montserrat

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

Flag of Montserrat, via CultureGrams

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

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Montserrat:

  • Montserrat is one of the smallest island nations in the world. It covers just 39 square miles (101 square kilometers).
  • Goat water is the national dish of Montserrat. It is a goat meat stew cooked in a metal or tin pot over a wood fire and often served at weddings, funerals, and other special events.
  • The highest point on the island is the dome of the Soufrière Hills volcano. The volcano began erupting in 1995 and went on to destroy the southern half of the island, blanketing it in ash and making it uninhabitable.
  • English is the official language of Montserrat because the island was settled by Irish colonists in the 1600s.

Read about life as a kid in Montserrat, holiday celebrations, and the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano, all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams States Edition Scavenger Hunt

This is the third in a series of fun scavenger hunts that our editorial staff has created to help students learn more about the resources available to them in CultureGrams. The first hunt was designed to familiarize users with the World Edition. Then we created one for the Kids Edition. Now this newest scavenger hunt is for the States Edition. By working through these eighteen questions, either in groups or individually, students will learn about the state reports in the database, what categories of information are available, what supplemental features there are, how to cite CultureGrams as a source, and much more. And when students have completed the scavenger hunt, they will be much better prepared to do their own research in CultureGrams to prepare a presentation, create a poster, or write an essay because they will know what information the product has to offer them to do their work.

States Edition Scavenger Hunt

*The information in parentheses after each item indicates where the answer can be found.

  1. List four of the rivers shown on the USA physical map (States Edition landing page – USA Maps)
  2. What are runza or bierocks? (Nebraska Recipes)
  3. What are the states that have the five highest populations of American Indians & Alaska Natives as a percentage of their total population? (Build-Your-Own Comparison Tables)
  4. What animal is at the center of the Wyoming flag? (Flag Gallery)
  5. What two famous astronauts came from Ohio. (Ohio – Famous People)
  6. What happened in 1853 in California? (California – Time Line)
  7. What is the state bird of Rhode Island and where in CultureGrams can you hear its song? (Rhode Island – State Symbols)
  8. What are the average high and low summer temperatures in Mississippi? (Mississippi – Climate)
  9. On what holiday did Nevada become a state in 1864? (Nevada landing page)
  10. Who was “the Wizard of Menlo Park” and what is he famous for? (New Jersey – The Wizard of Menlo Park)
  11. How many counties does South Dakota have? (South Dakota Government)
  12. What were the first four states to be added to the Union? (Graphs and Tables – Statehood)
  13. Where would you find a printable outline map of Illinois to label? (Illinois landing page – Map)
  14. How far is it from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida? (Washington – Distance Calculator)
  15. Hawaii is the only U.S. state where _________ are the largest racial group and __________ are a minority. (Hawaii – Population)
  16. What made Model T cars more popular than previous cars? (Michigan – The Model T and Motor City)
  17. If you were compiling a bibliography of sources for your report on Vermont, and you needed to create a correct MLA citation for the information on Vermont’s maple syrup, what would it look like? (Vermont – Maple Syrup)
  18. Which U.S. state would you most like to visit on vacation and why?

To find the correct answers, check in the comments area. And be sure to let us know how the scavenger hunt works for your classes.

CultureGrams: New Dominican Republic Interviews!

Boca Chica beach, Dominican Republic

Boca Chica beach, Dominican Republic [via CultureGrams Photo Gallery]

We’ve added three new interviews from the Dominican Republic to our CultureGrams Interviews collection! Each interview captures different viewpoints about life in the Dominican Republic from people of various ages living in the northern coastal city of Puerto Plata:

These interviews by country natives are not only interesting and fun to read, but they also give students insider knowledge into what life and culture in the country are really like.

Here’s an example from the interview with Alfonso, in which he describes what being a citizen of the Dominican Republic means to him:

AlfonsoBeing a citizen of the Dominican Republic means living in an amazing country. You get to enjoy the beautiful scenery, food, and people. The views are amazing. There is a little bit of everything for everyone. If you like the beach, there are amazing beaches all around the country. If you like the mountains, there are gorgeous peaks in the north and center of the island. If you like hot and dry, the south and west areas are just the right place for you. Also, the food is amazing. The seasoning and ingredients used in the variety of traditional dishes are amazing. Whether its eggs for breakfast or a five-course meal, it’s always amazing. And the people are amazing and kind—always happy and ready to have a good time. Being with Dominican people is never boring.

Find more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

Don’t have CultureGrams? Request a free trial.

Teaching Activity: Regional Food Tour

A spread of Moroccan appetizers, which include dishes made from tomatoes and squash to potatoes and beans. (Fes, Morocco, October 2006) Image Source: Aaron Thompson

Did you know that CultureGrams features country-specific recipes for each of its 209 country reports? The following activity explores cuisines from around the world. This activity comes from the CultureGrams Teaching Activities PDF, which features more than 70 activities to help teachers make the most of our country, state, and province reports.

Grade level

9–12

Objective:

In this teaching activity, students compare foods from different continents and write about what they’ve learned. See the Teaching Activites PDF for Common Core and other national curriculum standards met by this activity.

Time requirement

Preparation: 30 minutes

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

Materials

CultureGrams World Edition

CultureGrams Online Edition—Recipe Collection CultureGrams Online Edition—Interviews

Instructions

  1. Ask each student to select four countries, each from a different continent, for which there are corresponding interviews. To save time, you may wish to select these yourself. (For an index of all available interviews, access the main Interviews page.)
  2. Using the CultureGrams World Edition, have the students read the Diet section for each of their selected countries. They may also access the Recipe Collection to learn more about typical
  3. Ask each student to read one interview for each of the four countries he or she has What has each interviewee identified as a favorite food or foods?
  4. Have the students write a one-paragraph response essay identifying which of the four countries’ cuisine seems most appetizing to them. Of all the dishes described—in the World Edition Diet sections, Recipes, or Interviews—which would they most like to try?
  5. In a second short response essay, have the students compare the cuisine from the different continents. How did they differ? What staple foods, dishes, or popular ingredients were unique to one continent?

Extension activity

Have the students select a recipe from the Recipe Collection to make at home and bring to class. You may wish to select a limited number of options beforehand that have simple instructions and readily available ingredients.

Below are some photos of meals from the CultureGrams photo gallery.

This meal in Barbados includes curried chicken and lamb with okra and chickpeas. Bajan food is, for the most part, a unique combination of African and English traditions. (Bridgetown, Barbados, December 2015) Image Source: Joshua Ligairi

Fresh avocado, limes, crispy tortillas, soupy black beans, and a variety of sauces—all of these elements accompany the main focus of a classic Mexican meal: the taco. (Mexico City, Mexico, September 2008) Image Source: Peter Stone

This pub meal consists of pork sausages, peas, and Yorkshire pudding—a traditional English food made primarily of flour, eggs, and milk. (Newcastle, England, United Kingdom, October 2006) Image Source: Adam Blackwell

Mohinga is a soup that is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is made of rice noodles, catfish, and spices and garnished with lime, cilantro, and peanuts. (Mae Sot, Thailand, June 2010) Image Source: CultureGrams

A simple dinner of rice, fish, and fried plantain is served in a Brazilian restaurant. (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 2007) Image Source: CultureGrams

 

CultureGrams Teaching Activity: The World Game

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 includes an objective, curriculum standard correlations, a list of materials needed, the amount of time required to do the activity, instructions, and extension activities. These activities help promote critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving.

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.

The World Game

Grade level: K–5

Objective:
Students will develop basic map skills and learn about the worldwide appeal of soccer.

 


Time requirement:
Preparation: 40 minutes
In-class: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Materials:
CultureGrams Kids Edition
CultureGrams Online World Edition regional maps:
North America
South America
Europe
Africa
Asia
Oceania

Instructions
1. Divide the class into four groups, and assign each group one of four regions:

  • North and South America
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Asia and Oceania

2. For each region, print out a list of the countries in the Kids Edition. Have each group locate
these countries on the regional maps (listed above).

3. Have students access the “Games and Sports” page for each country on their list. Have them determine in which countries soccer is popular and highlight these countries on their regional maps. What number or percentage of the countries on their lists play soccer?

4. As a class, discuss their findings. Explore some reasons why soccer is such a popular sport around the globe (inexpensive to play, introduced by colonial powers, etc.).

5. During an international soccer competition (e.g., World Cup, UEFA European Championship, Africa’s Cup of Nations) assign each student a country to follow during the competition. Use the success of particular teams to launch a discussion about those countries. Internet sites that may be useful include:

International Football Federation (FIFA)
Union of European Football Associations
U.S. Soccer Federation

Image from CultureGrams Mozambique Slide Show “Homemade Soccer Ball.” Photo by Salym Fayad

 

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Tuvalu

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

Flag of Tuvalu, via CultureGrams

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

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Tuvalu:

  • Tuvalu (pronounced too-VAH-loo) means “eight standing together” in Tuvaluan. This refers to the nation’s eight traditionally inhabited atolls (ring-shaped reefs) and islands.
  • The only mammal native to Tuvalu is the Polynesian rat, though early settlers brought pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats with them. However, there are hundreds of species of fish and other marine creatures.
  • There are no rivers or streams in Tuvalu, since the islands are made up of coral gravel and sand. People must catch and store rainwater or desalinate (remove the salt from) ocean water.
  • Tuvalu owns the internet domain name .tv, which is a popular alternative to .com for companies worldwide.

Read about life as a kid in Tuvalu, traditional games, and the importance of family relationships, all in this colorful new report.

Where in the World: Swimming

We’re deep into summer and in many parts of the United States temperatures are topping 100°F. What to do? What people all over the world do to relax and cool down in hot weather: get wet! Whether it’s at a public pool, a local river, or the nearest beach, swimming is a favorite pastime worldwide.

The following photos are from the CultureGrams photo gallery.

Can you guess where each photo was taken?

1.

2.

3.  

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

We’ve posted the answers in the comments section of this post. Check them out and tell us how well you did!

Don’t forget that CultureGrams has thousands of pictures gathered from around the globe. Photos in the CultureGrams slideshow gallery and photo gallery can be used for educational purposes (as long as they are not posted on the open web).

I Used ProQuest Products to Enrich My Summer Vacation — in Amsterdam!

One of the things I love about working for ProQuest is how much I learn and how I have been able to incorporate some of what I’ve learned into my personal life, including, most recently, my summer vacation.

Last summer, I blogged about the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), and while researching RAGBRAI, I learned how local libraries helped make lives easier for the cyclists.

Hearing the enthusiastic responses from the librarians in Iowa about the RAGBRAI summer cycling event inspired me to plan and partake in my own bicycle adventure.

From Inspiration to Reality

This summer, I took my son to Amsterdam, a city famous for cycling. There, we spent eight days biking around the city and getting in touch with our Dutch roots — our ancestors immigrated from Holland to New York, some 300 years ago, when it was called New Amsterdam. (And, yes, I even learned a bit about New Amsterdam via a ProQuest eLibrary Research Topic page called Dutch Colonies in America!)

House Boat Living

House Boat Interior

View from my bedroom window on our house boat on the Amstel River in Amsterdam. The boat had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, dining area and stocked kitchen. (Credit: Amy Shaw)

Before our trip, I remembered something else I had learned at work. From ProQuest’s CultureGrams, I had read about how some Dutch people live in house boats (CultureGrams has a neat slideshow and video on house boats in the Netherlands.) So, for our grand adventure, my son and I decided to do as the Dutch do and stayed in our very own house boat. (And, it even came with bikes!)

I was told by an Amsterdammer (or Mokummer, the nickname for a person born in Amsterdam) that the weather in their city can be quite unpredictable and that you must always have these four things with you: an umbrella, a rain jacket, a sweatshirt (or sweater) and comfortable shoes that can handle getting wet. But I already knew all that from my ProQuest research.

That said, as prepared as we were, we still managed to get drenched one day while boating in Giethoorn, a charming village of thatched-roof homes near Amsterdam. (Giethoorn is mostly car-free as the locals get around by boat instead.)

We had gotten caught in a downpour like the ones we’ve experienced in our hometown in South Florida, only the weather in Holland was much colder. But, no worries, because some restaurants will give you nice, fluffy blankets to warm up in while you eat!

Cycling in Amsterdam

Every time we parked our bikes in the city, we took a picture of our bikes and the location so we wouldn’t forget where to find them. (Credit: Amy Shaw)

As for the cycling in Amsterdam, if you’ve never done it before, you are in for a shock at the sheer numbers of bicycles (more than 800,000)! Nearly everyone rides bikes there, no matter the weather or the season. I asked a local if she even biked in the winter and she said yes, through snow or rain.

With all those cyclists, it is important to be careful and always look in all directions and especially keep an eye out for mopeds, which also share the roads and paths (fietspaden) designated for bikes.

Babboe Cargo Bike

Cargo bikes are common in the Netherlands. Some have seat belts in them for hauling children. (Credit: Amy Shaw)

Our biggest regret about Amsterdam is that our trip ended too quickly, but we will be sure to return. In the meantime, we really miss the food there, so we are making plans to try some of the Dutch recipes on CultureGrams.

RAGBRAI 2017

Oh, and coincidentally, this year’s RAGBRAI in Iowa opens on July 22nd in Orange City, Iowa, with the theme Dutch til’ Dawn, reflecting the city’s Dutch heritage.

More Pictures


Clockwise from left: Supermarket purchase, Unusual house boat on the Amstel River, Marsh land outside Giethoorn (Credit: Amy Shaw)

Epic Video

After our trip, I found this cool music video created by a Silicon Valley family that is moving to Amsterdam. Check it out here: http://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/family-leaves-SF-epic-video-11275244.php

What Inspires You?

Learning from librarians about a cycling adventure and reading about different cultures at work inspired me to take a trip of a lifetime. What have you learned in the classroom or at work that has enriched your life in some way? Tweet us at #ProQuest.

CultureGrams: The Importance of Maps

World Map via CultureGrams

Have you ever thought about why maps are so important? Maps can help orient us. They can tell us where we are and where we want to go. Maps can help us find things. They offer a visual way to comprehend the world we live in and even worlds beyond ours. They provide perspective from high up or at a micro level.  They can be valuable in providing context, making comparisons, identifying connections or patterns, and even in predicting what lies ahead. Whether in the classroom or outside it, maps are valuable tools for teaching and learning. No wonder that developing map skills is a part of Common Core and other national and state curriculum standards.

Gabon Detail Map via CultureGrams

 

In CultureGrams you’ll find a wide variety of maps to help users learn. There are simple maps, physical maps, political maps, regional maps, detail maps, and county maps. And there are outline maps that are not only useful in their own right, but that students can use to create their own maps to reflect what they find interesting about a particular region, country, state,or province.

Denmark Outline Map via CultureGrams

To add further value to the wide variety of CultureGrams maps, our editorial staff has created a number of map-related learning activities that teachers can use for in-class projects or homework assignments. Students can use maps to understand the worldwide popularity of soccer in The World Game, as part of a “Geography Bee.” Or they can learn more about the impact of colonialism in Africa and elsewhere through such activities as “Colonization of Africa” or “Cricket and Colonization.”

How Well Do You Know the G20?

2017 G20 logo

2017 G20 logo [via Wikipedia]

This past Friday and Saturday (July 7-8), many eyes were on Hamburg, Germany, as it hosted the 2017 G20 summit. The G20 is an international forum composed of 20 of the world’s largest economies—19 countries, plus the European Union. Formed in 1999, it serves as an economic council to address issues of global financial stability. G20 summits are often the target of major protests, and this year was no different, with tens of thousands of activists staging protests, some of which turned violent.

In addition to heads of international financial and other organizations, G20 summits are attended by the leaders of member nations, plus the presidents of the European Council and European Commission to represent the European Union.

How well do you know the leaders of the nations in the G20? Test your knowledge here! Can you get 10/10? Tweet us @CultureGrams with your results! Or learn more about the economies of the countries of the world with CultureGrams!

 

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