The world is a very big place, but in today’s society the people of our world are becoming more and more connected every day. The internet and other venues for communication have opened the world to students no matter where they live. Also, so many students decide to study English overseas that often our classrooms become a representation of the globe.
The following activities will help your students learn more about the world around them and have fun using English in the process. You may even learn a thing or two as well as you all travel around the world with the following activities.
E - Exploration Exploits: How to Take Your Students Around the World
Fly Your Flag
Every country has its own flag, but how much do students know about the meaning behind those flags? Create a display of flags from around the world. You can either bring in small flags and display them in a vase or other arrangement, or print pictures of various flags from the internet. See how many of the flags your students can identify with their countries. Make sure you have a flag for each of the countries represented in your class. Then group your students by country of origin, and give them their country’s flag. Have each group work together to write an explanation of the flag’s design. If you have older students, they may be able to do this without research, but younger students may need to use the internet or other sources to explain the significance of colors and pictures on the flag. After your students have written an explanation of their native countries’ flags, tell them the story of your country’s flag. Then ask each group to come to the front of the room and share the story behind their flag and get some practice in public speaking.
Pin the Tail on the World Map
Now that your students have shared with the class about their home countries, assign some research topics with the following game. Did you every play pin the tail on the donkey when you were a child? This game follows the same concept. Give each student a pushpin with his name and/or picture on it. Blindfold the student and spin him three times, then point him in the direction of a world map on the wall. Make sure the map is not mounted too high for your students to reach. Allow your students to pin their marker on the map. Whatever continent or ocean your student lands on, that is the area he must research. Hopefully you will have students scattered around the map so every continent and ocean are researched. You can also make this a group project by grouping students depending on where their pushpins landed. Give your students some time to do the research either in class or at home, and then take some time for presentations on the different areas of the world. You may want your students to research the climate, animal life or terrain of the areas they are researching.
Can your students name the currencies used throughout the world? Start your global monetary travels by explaining the word currency and then brainstorming a list of currencies that are used throughout the world. Do this activity either in small groups or as a class. How many total currencies can the class name? Did they include dollars, Euros, pesos, and lira? What other examples did they give? Now see if they can name the countries that use those monetary units. There may be more than one country that uses each unit. Test your students’ general currency knowledge in groups by giving them a matching game with the following pairs. How many of the following countries can they match to their units of currency?
- Bulgaria (Leva)
- China (Yuan)
- Czech Republic (Koruna)
- Ghana (Cedi)
- Hong Kong (Dollar)
- India (Rupee)
- Italy (Lira)
- Ivory Coast (CFA Franc)
- Philippines (Peso)
- Norway (Krone)
- Venezuela (Bolivar)
- Serbia (Dinar)
If possible, start a collection of foreign money to display in your classroom. Encourage your students to bring in small amounts of money from their home countries and/or from places they travel. Give your class an opportunity to examine the money, the language, shape and appearance of each coin or bill. If your students are willing to leave the currency with you, over a few years you may have an impressive collection to use with future classes. See other money activities and worksheets we have on BusyTeacher.
In Good Taste
Bread is one of the most common foods throughout the world, but the personality of each country shows through in this basic food. Complete your journey around the world by bringing in sample bread from different areas of the world that are available in your grocery store. You may want to include white bread, a pita, flour tortillas, a baguette, matzo and naan. Then pair your students for the following activity. Each pair should create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast two of the types of bread they have samples. To make a Venn diagram, draw a large circle on the paper and overlap it with a second large circle. Label each circle with one of the items being examined. You can assign the two types of bread to each pair or let the students choose the ones they will write about. They should then describe each of the two types of bread in one of the circles. The characteristics that are true for both types should be written in the overlapping area of the diagram. The characteristics that are unique to each type should be written in the areas that do not overlap. Now your students should write one paragraph about the similarities between the two types of bread and a second paragraph about the differences. If you would like, you can also ask your students to write an introduction and a conclusion to create a complete essay.
These are just a few of the many ways your class can take a mini-trip around the world. Throughout your journey, encourage your students to share from their own experiences and perhaps show some pictures.
Learning about the world is so important for people in the 21st century. Have fun as your journey, and you may even want to keep a scrapbook of the experience.