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Explore Asian American and Pacific Islander Cultures

Students will select an Asian American or Pacific Islander culture and conduct research to learn more about it. They will select one aspect of that culture and choose an appropriate method to share what they learned with the class.

PROCESS:

  1. Invite students to identify and share what they know about various Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures. If you wish, display this graphic from the United States Census Bureau to appreciate the diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander populations in the United States.
  2. Have students select one Asian American or Pacific Islander population. Give them time to conduct research to learn more about its culture and traditions. Then instruct students to select one aspect-such as music, a form of writing, a sport, a food, clothing, etc.-that is particularly important in the culture they chose.
  3. Encourage students to choose an appropriate method to share that part of the culture with the class. For example, they might find sheet music and perform a traditional song, host a fashion show or find or create examples of artwork to create a cultural art exhibit. Provide a variety of art supplies and other materials needed to complete their projects.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their work with the class. Encourage classmates to discuss what each presentation reveals about the culture it represents.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, conduct research to learn more about the culture and traditions of Hawai`i. Then divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one topic that is particularly important in the Hawaiian culture. Encourage groups to brainstorm ideas for how to best represent this part of Hawaiian culture to the class. Provide supplies and give groups time to complete their projects.
Grades 5-6:
Have students complete the activity in small groups. Assign each group one Asian American or Pacific Islander population. Have students conduct research to learn more about their assigned cultures. Challenge them to identify one item or tradition that is particularly important in their culture. Then give groups time brainstorm ideas and create an example. Invite one member from each group to present their ideas to the class.
Grades 7-8:
Have students complete the activity in small groups. Encourage each group to select one Asian American or Pacific Islander population and identify one item or tradition that is particularly important in that culture. Make sure there are no repeats. Then instruct groups to brainstorm ideas about how to give each group member an active role as they introduce this part of the culture to the class. Give groups time to complete their projects.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct each pair to select one Asian American or Pacific Islander population and conduct research to learn more about it. Make sure there are no repeats. Have partners select one item or tradition that is particularly important to their culture. Then give pairs time to brainstorm ideas and create multiple examples for their cultural presentations.