Friday, September 5, 2014

A Yarn About Globalization

My colleague/ student teacher came up with a great activity, which he taught in class yesterday.

You may be aware that we've been discussing what we mean by "culture."  And we've discussed some of the various aspects and ingredients that go into making a culture.  ...What is it that gives a group of people a collective identity?

Well, Mr. Helmuth took it to the next level - one culture interacting with another culture.  If you're an adult, you may recognize this as globalization.  If you're one of my students visiting the blog... you should definitely recognize this as globalization, since we just had a lesson on it.

Mr. Helmuth split the class into groups of countries.  Each country had a major export listed.  Bangladesh exported clothing, Saudi Arabia exported oil, etc...  He then took a ball of yarn, and started in one group.  That group had to determine what it wanted.  It passed the yarn to another group - so if it wanted grain, it would pass the yarn to the United States, establishing a trade partnership.

Because different cultures often speak different languages, and have various other cultural obstacles to overcome, speaking at all was not allowed in this activity.  ...Ok... this also made the activity easier to control.  If the students broke the rules and spoke, Mr. Helmuth came around with a pair of scissors and cut the yarn... stupid break-down in trade.  Sometimes he was the U.N. imposing sanctions.  Bravo, Helmuth!

By the end, an elaborate web of trade was woven all around the classroom:

This activity introduced many topics that could come up later in the year, and which may be used as a reference point later - even if we didn't explicitly discuss it yesterday.  (For instance, this illustrates the idea of economic interdependence, quite well - but we didn't give that term yet.)

If you want the extra credit, you were supposed to read and discuss the blog with an adult.  To prove that you did that, go to google, and type "Define interdependence."  Then, find a scrap of paper and write the first sentence of the definition.  Have the adult you discussed the blog with sign the paper.  If you want to discuss it further, go ahead.  But if you'd rather watch football or something, go ahead.  Thanks for stopping by. 

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