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Monday Morning Ready03.14.2019
Jumpstart Your Week!

The United States isn’t the only country with an odd tradition for predicting the weather (here’s looking at you, Punxsutawney Phil). In Zürich, Switzerland, the locals turn to the Böögg, an 11-foot-tall snowman stuffed with straw, cotton—and dynamite.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Why do you think people have festivals to celebrate the arrival of spring?

Grade 5-6

Which tradition do you think is a better way to predict when spring will arrive, Punxsutawney Phil or the Böögg? Why?

Grade 7-8

In the article, the writer explains how Sechseläuten, Zurich, Switzerland's annual spring festival, began and evolved over time. How do you think the festival will continue to change in the future?

Grade 9-10

During Sechseläuten, Zurich, Switzerland's annual spring festival, townspeople use dynamite to blow up an 11-foot-tall snowman known as the Böögg. In what way, if any, do you think the growing threat of terrorist attacks could impact this annual tradition?

LESSON PLAN
Plan a Hometown Spring Festival

PROCESS:

  1. Invite students to identify springtime festivals and traditions they've heard of and know a bit about. Encourage them to share what they know.
  2. Have students brainstorm a list of things they like-and think are worth celebrating-related to spring. If necessary, prompt students to consider the weather, holidays, sports or even hobbies they can't pursue until spring arrives. Then have them make a list of local springtime traditions.
  3. Instruct students to conduct research to learn more about springtime festivals and traditions around the world. Encourage students to identify their favorite ways of celebrating the new season.
  4. Based on what they learned, give students time to plan a hometown festival that combines their own interests, local traditions and an international way of celebrating the new season.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their plans with the class. Challenge classmates to identify how each festival focuses on local interests and traditions to celebrate the arrival of the new season.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, select a focus and create an overall plan for a spring festival. As you do, identify key topics or areas to include. Have each student pick a topic and draw a picture showing how they would celebrate it in a hometown spring festival.
Grades 5-6:
As a class, select a focus and create an overall plan for a spring festival. As you do, identify key topics or areas to include. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one topic or area to pursue. Give groups time to plan how they will celebrate that part of the festival. Encourage groups to write a feature article for the newspaper that describes their part of the festival and encourages people to come.
Grades 7-8:
As a class, select a focus and create an overall plan for a spring festival. As you do, identify key topics or areas to include. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one topic or area to pursue. Challenge groups to integrate that topic with a local tradition as they plan their part of the spring festival. Encourage students to write a brief summary of their plans and to draw detailed pictures showing what it will look like.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a topic, a local tradition and their favorite ways of celebrating the spring season. Challenge them to then plan their own hometown spring festival. Once their plans are laid out, have students create a special section for the local newspaper about the festival that includes a daily schedule and features about the main attractions.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Weather Lab
What happens when ocean currents and air masses interact? Find out in the Smithsonian Science Education Center’s Weather Lab! Take on the role of a meteorologist by predicting spring weather and how people should dress for it in particular regions of the United States.

Cherry Blossom Playlist
Every spring in Washington, D.C., thousands of visitors flock to our nation’s capital to savor the beauty of cherry blossoms, representing a celebration of the coming seasons as well as the friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. This selection of music from Smithsonian Folkways offers a soundtrack to the annual celebration.

Grow Your Own Victory Garden!
Planning is an important and sometimes overlooked step in creating a successful garden. But if you plan well, you can grow a bountiful garden in any season. To learn how—in spring, summer or fall—read these tips from the Smithsonian.

In Northern Norway, Reindeer Racing and a “Joik” Singing Showdown Welcome in Spring
Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn how the Sami Easter Festival blends old and new traditions in Lappland’s northern reaches.

Commemorations Across the Disciplines
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will explore how cultures commemorate people and events. They will explore how commemorations are created through music, painting, sculpture, photography, architecture and poetry. Then they will work in collaborative groups to create a commemoration celebrating a person or an event of their choice and host a festival to share their work with others in the school or community.

Every Year Spring Gets 30 Seconds Shorter
Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn why some peculiarities in how the Earth moves give us a shorter spring but make summer a little bit longer each year.
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