Accordion Book for Comparing Cultures – Grade Four
Have the students research one group from the indicator list (a – f). This can be done through various means: reading from a text book, teacher-created outline and presentation, guest speakers, independent research via the Internet, or using small groups focusing on a particular aspect of the culture and then coming together to share information with others. The following example will use the experts/small group Jigsaw method to research the Amish population.
Return the pre-assessment to students and discuss the differences between cultural practices (things people do) and cultural products (things people make). Define and give examples using the pre-assessment. Using examples from the pre-assessment, explain to the students how barn raising is an Amish cultural practice and a quilt is an Amish cultural product.
To generate interest, use a whole-class activity that promotes a mixture of research and creativity. An art project is an excellent way to draw in reluctant learners. Staying with the Amish example, have each student create a quilt patch for his/her desk or group. Have students decide the meaning of their designs, as well as the meaning of the colors they choose to create designs and write explanations on the backs of their quilt patches. Have each student, or group of students share quilt patches, then display them by forming them into a class quilt.
Have square pieces of construction paper (8” x 8” minimum) available for the students. Also, have other pieces of construction paper, glue, scissors and other art supplies available to use. After each student or group of students finishes sharing, hole-punch each corner of the squares (“patches”) and sew them together with yarn to form a class quilt. Display the quilt in the classroom or another location.
The Amish settlers brought with them their Old World customs. The Amish value their sense of community, which is reflected in their quilting tradition. Quilting is a communal activity and many of the designs are based on nature and have a personal meaning for those who created them. Often times, the colors used have specific meaning. The Amish live a simple life and their quilt designs and colors show a belief that art and function are not separate. Each design has its own meaning. Quilts continue to be made by the Amish for family use. Women make quilts for weddings, babies, friendship and many other occasions.
Additional information and pictures can be found on the Internet by searching for general information about the “History of Quilting.” Specific information about Amish quilting can be found by searching for “Amish folk art” and “Amish quilts” on the Internet.