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  CultureGrams Teaching Idea: Haiti

Teaching Idea: A Look at Haiti

Grade level: K-5

Objective: Students use text and photos to identify cultural characteristics of Haiti.
National Curriculum Standards

McREL Geography Standards: Human Systems
  • Standard 10: Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.
  • Level II [Grades 3-5] Benchmark 1: Knows the similarities and differences in characteristics of culture in different regions (e.g., in terms of environment and resources, technology, food, shelter, social organization, beliefs and customs, schooling, what girls and boys are allowed to do).
  • Level II [Grades 3-5] Benchmark 3: Understands how cultures differ in their use of similar environments and resources (e.g., comparing how people live in Phoenix, Arizona with how people live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia).
Developed by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning

National Geography Standards: Human Systems
  • Standard 10: The geographically informed person knows and understands the characteristics, distributions, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.
Developed by the National Council for Geographic Education

National Standards for Social Studies: Culture
  • Standard E [Early Grades]: Social Studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity, so that the learner can give examples and describe the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across groups. Developed by the National Council for the Social Studies
Developed by the National Council for the Social Studies
Time Requirement:
Preparation: 40 minutes
In-class: 1 hour and 30 minutes

  1. Have students read the Kids Edition report for Haiti. As they read, they should create a list of five characteristics of Haiti (e.g., speak Creole, eat a lot of beans and rice, may practice voodoo, enjoy storytelling, etc.). As a class, discuss some of these findings.

  2. Have students access the Haiti photos in the CultureGrams Photo Gallery. Each of these photos portrays Haitians doing everyday things. Have each student pick a photo and write a short paragraph about the person pictured. (You may choose to have all the students write about the same photo.) Have the students describe what the person is doing in the photo, but also have them imagine what isn't pictured -- the other activities the person might carry out in a typical day. Encourage them to use their list of five cultural characteristics as background.

  3. Form the students into groups so that all of the students that commented on a particular photo are together. Have the students compare their paragraphs. Did some students have a different idea of what the pictured person's day might be like?
Extension activity:
  1. Based on the photos and their reading, have the students write a short essay about what challenges their pictured Haitian might have if he or she moved to the students' hometown? Also, what challenges would the student have if he or she moved to Haiti?
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