By Dr. Amy L. Holland, Geography Teacher
Grimsley Junior High School, Bentonville, Arkansas
By November our walnut trees are bare, they are the first to lose their leaves, the last to have them grow back in the spring. The month flies by and goes slowly all at the same time. Three weeks and Thanksgiving break arrives. Prior to break we continue our culture study. However, it’s important to study development and migration patterns before diving too deep into our culture study.
The development of a country and migration of groups of people impact a culture, which brings more vocabulary words into the conversation. I love looking at the development of a country and analyzing the data with my students. We have so many inquisitive questions and comments through the studies of population pyramids, industries, economies, even down to the different day-to-day activities. These things give my students insight into the development of a country and why a culture has certain characteristics.
ProQuest has an amazing database of information for every country around the world. The database is called CultureGrams. Although it charges for a subscription, most local public libraries have a subscription and will share it with local teachers. CultureGrams gives students information about every country, down to the recipes that are common for that country. My students love using it to analyze information and look at development and culture.
As the winter months continue, we will continue to add layers to our discussions of culture, development, and migration. Students will learn new terminology and even diagnose what might hold a country and/or culture back from developing to its full potential. As we discuss culture and they learn these new ideas, they will look at their own traditions and cultures in a wider context. When they do, the deeper our discussions will go!