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Accordion Book for Comparing Cultures – Grade Four - page 4 / 10





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Accordion Book for Comparing Cultures – Grade Four


Divide the class into groups. Assign each group of students one or two topics to research about Amish life. Even though they are working as a group on the same topic, this research should be done independently.

Homes (type of heat and light used)

Farming, machinery, auctions


Transportation (buggies)

Customs and traditions (weddings, barn raisings)

Schools, education

Quilting, crafts

Carpentry, furniture, baskets



Have students individually research their topic(s) and take notes. If students are unfamiliar with taking notes, ask them to divide a piece of paper into eight equal sections. In the upper left corner, have students write the name of the group they are studying. In each box, they can record one fact and add an illustration as they research. Research can be done with textbooks, encyclopedias, on-line resources or teacher-provided materials. This may also be assigned for homework.


Have students meet in small groups with other students who researched the same topic and compare their information as a group. They need to agree on the information they will bring to the rest of the class. When they have created their group-approved list of seven facts, check them for accuracy before they move on to the next step. Groups who finish first can work on their time line.


When all students are finished, form new “expert” groups with one or two representatives from each topic area in each group so that they can share their knowledge on each subject (Jigsaw method).


Pass out the Accordion Book Rubric to students and have them note the requirements for content and accuracy. They must have at least seven accurate facts and four time-line events pertaining to the group being studied. Having the rubric ahead of time helps students focus on the information they will need for note taking/active listening.


Have students share the information with each other and take notes. Time this process and allow each group member five minutes to tell his/her information and two minutes for any clarifying questions from the rest of the group. You may decide that you would like the students to take notes using a specific format (i.e., graphic organizer). If so, be sure to explain the details to the class.


Have students assemble their own accordion pages based on notes that they took.

Cut a large piece of white construction paper in half “long ways” or “hot dog” style.

Fold each piece into four sections like an accordion.

Glue two sections together so that you have a long accordion.

Glue a piece of cardboard the same size as one of the sections on to the “cover” of the book (this will help it keep its shape).

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