Holiday Exploration Unit
Holiday Explorations
  • Unit Description
  • Objectives
  • Materials and Resources
  • Unit Lesson Plans
  • Relation to Standards
  • One Computer versus Many

  • Unit Description

        In this unit, students will learn about the values and traditions of particular countries, cultures, and groups through exploration of a holiday of their choice. A holiday is a day on which normal, everyday activity is suspended so that people can acknowledge a special historical, religious, or cultural event. Students are encouraged to select a holiday to study that is relevant to them, either because they celebrate it in their homes, or because they want to learn more about the country, culture, or group that celebrates it. Each student has the opportunity to give a presentation about the holiday she or he has chosen, either on or close to the day on which it falls during the school year. Students discuss the common characteristics of holidays and, on the basis of these characteristics, devise their own classroom holiday that they will then celebrate with other classes. Up to Contents

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        Students will:

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    Materials and Resources

        In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.

    1. Special hardware requirements: server space for completed projects (optional)
    2. Special software requirements: integrated multimedia software package such as ClarisWorks or Director (optional)
    3. Internet access: Medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or High-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network).
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    Unit Lesson Plans

    1. Lesson One: Selecting and Investigating a Holiday. Students use the Internet resources provided and their own searches to select and investigate a holiday of interest to them.

    2. Lesson Two: Presentation of Findings. Students create Web-based, multimedia, or text-based documents of their research findings for presentation to the class when their holiday occurs.

    3. Lesson Three: Discussion of Common Characteristics of Holidays. Based on the research they have conducted, students participate in a group discussion that helps them see the characteristics each of the holidays they have investigated has in common with the others.

    4. Lesson Four: Creation of a Classroom Holiday. Based on the research they have conducted and the discussion in Lesson Three, students invent a holiday for their classroom, including name, customs, songs, foods, and other defining characteristics.

    5. Lesson Five: Sharing the Classroom Holiday. Students invite classes, both in their school and in remote locations, to join them in celebrating their classroom holiday.

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    Relation to Standards

        We have drawn on the historical thinking standards outlined by the National Center for History in the Schools as well as evolving standards for K-12 language arts from the National Council of English Teachers (NCET). We feel that these standards provide excellent guidelines for teachers on how to focus social sciences work in their classrooms. Up to Contents

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    One Computer versus Many

        The plans for this unit are tailored to fit teaching situations where students have access to several computers with an Internet connection. To accommodate classrooms that do not have access to a computer lab with full Internet connections, students can work in research groups to explore Internet sites and conduct their research.

        If you have only one computer with Internet access, you may choose to do one of the following:

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