What's the Wonder?
Language Arts Activity
Most people are curious about lands they've only heard
about or seen in pictures and films, but never visited. This activity takes advantage of
students' natural curiosity about other countries to encourage them to learn
more about them.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Index cards
- Reference materials, such as atlases, encyclopedias, informational books,
magazines, and pamphlets
- Poster board for a map (optional)
WHAT TO DO
- Have students meet in small groups to choose a country they would like to know more
- Ask each group to make a list of "I wonder questions" about the country. For
example, if the subject is Greenland, students might write: I wonder...What
is the weather like in Greenland? Or: I wonder...How do people dress in
- Within each team, have students write their "I wonder questions" on index cards,
with their names, and shuffle the cards. Then have each student draw at least one card
(it should be a question someone else has posed). Students research the country
to find the answer to the question. After they write the answers on the index
cards, students can display them on a bulletin board that includes a map of the
country. If they wish, students could include pictures or photographs to support their answer.
Students might respond to the queries by writing letters to the students posing
the questions. In their answers, they should cite where they located the
information. The model you provide might begin like this:
You asked what kind of climate Greenland has. According to the World Book . . .
Students can write a brief essay about how they feel about the country they
researched. Would they like to visit it? Did their attitude toward that country
change after they learned more about it? What did they learn that they
especially liked or disliked? What else would they like to know?
Use this method of generating and answering questions for other Social Studies inquiries, too.
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