In a “regular” school year, as part of their social studies unit, third graders are immersed in studying culture and they look forward to showcasing their learning at the Culture Museum. Students prepare presentations complete with cultural dress, artifacts, and food as diverse as Stroopwafels (Dutch) and pigs feet (Scandavian), and they invite the school community and their parents to visit. You’ve probably noticed that there’s nothing regular about our learning right now!
Culture Museum Project Goes Online
Mr. Byma here, 3rd grade teacher at Denver Christian School. The culture unit and Culture Museum is a highlight for third graders, and it incorporates numerous valuable learning outcomes:
- Learning about what culture is and about, and identifying similarities and differences in cultures
- Recognizing that all cultures are comprised of people who bear the image of God; each culture is therefore beautifully unique
- Developing research skills using print and online sources
- Synthesizing research and presenting findings in writing
- Visual and verbal presentation skills
Even though we’re not physically in class together right now, we still wanted our third graders to be able to participate in this important learning experience!
So we did with this project what we’ve done with the rest of our learning: moved it online.
Distance Learning and Researching
Instead of researching in our school and public libraries, third-graders researched at home using culturegrams.com and other sites, with help from their parents, and made plans for a Google Slide presentation that would be presented to the entire third grade on Zoom.
To help them prepare for their online presentation, our amazing tech teacher Ms. Erb made a video tutorial for students about how to use Google Slides, and I made a video for them about using colors, backgrounds, fonts, sizes, pictures, and other elements to make an effective visual presentation.
As third graders were developing their slide presentation, Ms. Sikkema and I would leave feedback and suggestions on the drafts for the final presentation. Third graders really enjoyed making the slides, and some were so excited that they started on their presentations early because they couldn’t stand to wait anymore! Click to learn more about culture in China, Iceland, and Hungary.
Culture Museum, Zoom Style
Presenting via Zoom definitely presents challenges that we don’t have in the classroom, such as occasional sound and video lags. Despite the expected tech issues, presentations went really well overall and the students liked being able to see their friends from the other class, which they don’t get to do very often!
We’re really impressed with the students and their learning during this project. Our third graders shared their learning about cultures and cultural attributes, they produced professional looking Google Slides, they practiced their presentations on their families, dealt with tech issues, and delivered culture presentations to their entire class! And just in case you wondered, I’m 100% Dutch and part of my cultural tradition is eating a famous Dutch food every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter morning … stroopwafels, anyone?