A great way to begin discussion is to try a backchannel chat. This allows all students to participate. For this lesson, the teacher poses the question using a backchannel platform such as Today's Meet: How does culture shape our beliefs? You could also try Padlet or even a Google Doc. As students respond online, the teacher facilitiates discussion, enouraging more questions for deeper learning. Questions do not have to be answered, as these questions may be explored in the next part of the lesson. Depending on the learners, they may want to break up into small groups to continue discussion or the teacher could facilitate and crowdsource all the responses into Answer Garden to show connected thinking within the class.
This inquiry may actually lead to more questions to explore throughout this lesson:
- What exactly is culture?
- What constitutes a "belief?"
- What is the difference between a belief and a manifestation/act of that belief?
- How are group beliefs/culture different than individual beliefs/culture?
Using Readworks.org reading passages (according to grade and reading levels) that reflect culture, geography and belief systems such as Foot Binding, Halau Hula, Islam, Battle of the Bagel, students break into small groups and investigate how culture and beliefs are connected. Students read together and use a collaborative Google Doc to collect responses to earlier inquiry questions. It may also be helpful to have students complete the comprehension questions provided on ReadWorks together, as well as explore their own ideas and questions. Students may explore different paths of thought, depending on the subject of their reading.
- Compare and contrast the different elements of culture in each story.
- Distinguish between what is a belief and what is a manifiestation of that belief.
- How important is the individual? How important is the group?
- How does the cultural practice connect to the belief system?
- What are norms within the culture and are they rooted in a belief system?
Using the platform of their choice (with publication) such as Strip Designer or Book Creator, students draft their own creative cultural narratives applying ideas and understandings they uncovered and explored through the question: How does culture shape our beliefs? This can be both informative and creative, as students can apply their learning from investigations as well as create something that expresses their understanding of their own culture and beliefs.
Consider this process:
- Analyze data collected from reading the various articles and stories.
- Turn your data into knowledge and wisdom by finding connections, patterns, and big ideas.
- Identify how you want to communicate and share wisdom and knowledge, i.e. comic strip, video, online book.
- Rough draft/cut your work.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events.
Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.