|First Grade or ESL Unit: "Breads from
Around the World"
Tobey Cho Bassoff
International diversity and multiculturalism
NCSS Thematic Strand (1): Culture
(e) give examples and describe the importance of cultural unity
and diversity within and across groups
Culture defines who we are as people and enclaves in society. According
to the NCSS, "human beings create, learn, and adapt culture." Because
education about diversity in society begins at a young age, a first
grade social studies unit structured around the theme of international
diversity and multiculturalism could not be more appropriate. "Breads
from around the World," is a unit that uses breads as the vehicle
of study for the theme of diversity. Students will be guided in
their understanding by the teaching model of inquiry. Each of the
three lessons that follow will build on itself as a part of the
inquiry process. Step one will be identifying the problem: There
are so many different kinds of bread. Why? Step two will involve
speculating possible answers, gathering data and analyzing data,
and testing a hypothesis through a bread tasting activity. This
step will lead students to make assertions about why breads are
different. Step three will engage students in making connections
between their own cultural heritage and the bread that comes from
Model of Teaching: Inquiry
In this unit students will learn that breads, like people, represent
many different cultures and traditions from around the world. The
focus in the unit is to connect the international diversity represented
by the children in class to the diversity in their neighborhood,
as represented by the different types of bread available in the
Lesson 1: What makes bread different?
(I) Introductory Activities
Unit Introduction: Have children keep a log of what breads
they ate during the week. Then have each student draw pictures of
what breads they ate during the week.
Content Objectives: A few students will be asked to share
their pictures, and I will note that each picture seems to show
some kind of bread. They will be asked, "What do you know about
bread? What is bread made out of? What are different kinds of bread?
What makes the breads different?"
Process Objectives: Students will recall what they know about
breads, make observations about breads, and discuss the content
and unit questions.
- Have students keep a bread log of what breads they eat in a
week. Students will then draw a picture of what breads he/she
kept track of in their bread log. Thus, each student will relate
a personal experience with bread to the discussion of what makes
- Bring the students back to the rug (big meeting area) and have
each one share what she wrote. Make a list on the dry erase board.
Ask for a volunteer to say what he/she notices about the list.
He/she should point out that each student seemed to have thought
about bread for either breakfast or lunch. Elaborate on the connection
of bread and its presence in almost every meal. Ask children to
talk about the sight, sound, smell, and taste of bread. Tell the
children that all bread is made of at least flour and water. Ask
the children if all bread tastes alike. Then leave them with the
question of what makes bread different.
Students identify themselves in relation to the daily use of bread.
Due to the fact that the class represents 28 different cultures,
students will begin to wonder what makes bread different from one
culture to the next.
Bread Tasting: Sampling of breads from around the world purchased
in neighborhood community.
Content Objectives: Children will expand their knowledge
of different types of bread and focus on what makes the breads different.
Process Objectives: Students will recall why they thought
breads were different, share their responses, taste different breads
from around the world, write down comments about each, and identify
and differentiate the different tastes, look, feel and smell of
- Students will begin by remembering what the class discussed
yesterday about what makes breads the same and what it was that
made breads different. They will turn to a listening partner and
share. Each partner will then tell the class about what his/her
- The students will then get up and sample breads purchased from
neighborhood bakeries that represent breads from around the world
and from different cultures. They will take notes about what differences
they see, touch, smell, and taste.
- Students will come back together and share their discoveries.
We will talk about how breads, like people, make up our diverse
neighborhood. Through our differences we have much more to offer
and share with each other.
- Ask children to take note of what kinds of bread they eat from
now until tomorrow.
Link to NCSS Strand and Unifying Theme
Through the process of investigation, children will discover on
their own what makes bread different. They will then be able to
answer this question: Could we have all of these different kinds
of bread if the culture's that created them were not there to make
Teacher Read-Aloud: Breads from Around the World
Content Objectives: Students will connect their experience
from the second lesson to their knowledge of different types of
bread that come from around the world. They will continue to draw
comparisons between the bread and the diversity of people in our
world and our community.
Process Objectives: Students will listen to the book being
read aloud, share their personal responses, and identify and distinguish
among different types of breads they have tasted.
- Read aloud the fantastic book Breads from Around the World (Newhill,
1992). Then, ask the children for comments about the book. What
did you notice? What did you see?
- Read the book again and point our different types of bread.
Ask the students what makes these breads different and why is
it important to have different types of bread.
- Ask the students: "Are any of the breads you've tasted or seen
over the past couple of days reflected in your background?"
- Have the children go home with an index card and ask their parents
what type of bread or breads is symbolic to their heritage.
Extension: Lesson 4 will link the students' response to
breads from their heritage to the diversity represented in the classroom
culture. We will make miniature flags of the countries from which
are bread comes and then make a paper quilt of the flags represented
by the breads from our different cultures.
In assessing the students' progress in this lesson, I want to learn
as much about the students as possible, and provide them with multiple
entry points for learning (Goodwin 1997). The focus of these lessons
is on inquiry, and leading children to believe that they have control
of their learning and discovery of knowledge.
Each activity is designed to allow children to build on previous
knowledge and apply it to a new activity. To this end, as an assessment
tool, I will chart the responses of the children to see if they
are internalizing what they learned from one activity to the next.
I will also use the children's science logs as a way to gauge whether
or not they applied written and/or pictorial comprehension to their
For information on how I planned and revised this unit, go to my
article, How to Plan a Five Lesson
Curriculum for Primary Grades
Click here to see a lesson plan
based on "Breads Around the World."
Questions or comments? E-mail