Lesson plan

What is Culture?

Help your students become global citizens with this lesson that teaches the about culture. Students will explore their culture and the cultures of their classmates in this engaging, hands-on activity.
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After the lesson, students will understand the basic components of culture.

(15 minutes)
  • Gather the students together in a comfortable area.
  • Explain to the students that today they will be exploring all the things that make them unique and special.
  • Ask each student to share something that makes them special.
  • Ask the students to think about students who shared similar answers. Ask the students to think about students who shared different answers.
  • Explain to the students that everyone is different and that our differences make us unique and special.
  • Ask the students to think about what the world would be like if everyone looked, spoke, and acted the in the same way.
  • Encourage a few students to share their answers with the class.
  • Show the students the Hello Song! video.
  • Briefly discuss the video using prompting questions such as What are the children saying to each other? and Do the students all speak the same language?
(20 minutes)
  • Get out the colored pencils, index cards, tape, and large piece of paper.
  • Tape up the large piece of paper on the white board. In the center of the paper, write “[Teacher's Name]’s Culture.”
  • Point to the word culture. Ask the students what culture means.
  • Allow a few students to share their ideas, and then explain to them that someone’s culture has to do with the way they speak, dress, celebrate, play, and live.
  • Get out the eight index cards and scatter them on a table or on the ground.
  • Call on a student to pick up one of the cards.
  • Read the card aloud, for example, “My Language,” and tape it up on the anchor chart.
  • Draw a line from the culture circle to the index card, then model thinking about what this index card means. For example, explain that your language is what you speak to communicate with others. If you speak one language at home and one at school, explain this to your students.
  • Draw a picture of you speaking to someone next to the card.
  • Continue this process with all of the index cards, thinking aloud as you explain what the index card means.
  • Explain to the students that your anchor chart shows all the characteristics of your culture, all of the things that make you unique and special!
(10 minutes)
  • Ask a few students to come up to the front of the classroom.
  • Pick a few cultural characteristics such as “My Family," "Celebrations," and "Music and Art.”
  • Ask the students to share their ideas with the class. For example, students will share the members of their family, the celebrations they partake in, and their favorite music and art.
  • Ask the students to think about the similarities and differences amongst themselves.
  • Explain to the students that because of all of our differences, we are able to learn from each other.
  • Reinforce that differences make the world a special and interesting place.
(30 minutes)
  • Allow students to go back to their desks or a seated area.
  • Pass out the My Culture worksheet, coloring materials, and pencils.
  • Project or draw the worksheet on the whiteboard.
  • Explain to the students that they will be making their own culture poster! Help students to read the words in each box. Sketch a symbol in each box so students who have trouble reading can figure out where to draw each picture. For example, in the box labeled “What I eat,” draw a small bowl.
  • Explain to the students that they will draw a picture in each box using colored pencils about this aspect of their culture.
  • Read the next page, “I am special because” and explain to the students that if they have time, they will think of at least one reason why they are special and try to write a complete sentence. They can also draw a picture of themselves in the box at the bottom of the page.
  • Allow the students to get to work. Encourage them to use your anchor chart as a reference.
  • Rotate around the classroom and help students who need support.
  • Enrichment: Students who need a challenge can complete the second page and use detailed sentences to express what makes them special.
  • Support: Sketch small symbols in the boxes for the students who need guidance.
  • As you rotate around the room, make note of students who struggle to draw their pictures. Assist these students as needed.
  • During review and closing students will share their finished work and reasons that make them special.
(15 minutes)
  • Call the students together as a group and ask them to bring their culture sheets.
  • Stand in a circle.
  • Explain to the students that as you share your pictures, you want them to notice the similarities and differences between themselves.
  • Allow students to share their work with their classmates.
  • Replay the Hello Song!
  • Sing the song together as a class!

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