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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Enter Through the Form: Explore Japan Treasure Hunt

Curriculum Unit:
http://teachnet-lab.org/meisler/thebleedingedge/features/japan_enter/mmpages
/japan_intro.htm

How it works:
Get your passport ready--your class is about to go on a virtual treasure hunt to Japan! They will search the World Wide Web to find information about Japan's belief and value systems, festivals, architecture, landscape design, geography, and culture. Students brainstorm what they know about Japan, discuss  value and belief systems (such as religion, traditions, and rules), geography, rituals, architecture, and landscape design. They then give an example of each item they have listed on the chalkboard as it pertains to the United States or their home town. 

Can they give answers that pertain to Japan? If you don't get  a response, tell them not to worry! That is why the class is going on a treasure hunt! After their return, each student makes an illustration and writes a description of something they discovered on their treasure hunt.

Standards addressed: 
Students develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forms that shape artistic communication and how the arts, in turn, shape the diverse cultures of past and present endeavors. 

Materials used:
A computer with Internet access is needed along with a chalkboard with white board chalk or dry-erase markers, photocopies of the "Explore Japan" Treasure Hunt work sheet, and pencils. 


The students:
The 7th grade digital art students at the Institute for Collaborative Education, a small 6-12th grade NYC public school, are the first students to "Enter Through The Form" and study Japan's art, architecture, culture, and history. It is part of a year-long curriculum. The students are heterogeneous (racially, socially, academically, artistically, and technically).

Overall value:
The students have invented their own characters with the ability to time travel as the vehicle to study Japan through many eras. They are totally immersed in their character's stories; the material they gather in the Treasure Hunt helps to make the character's adventures more authentic. The students are excited about their projects and they are immersed in a trans-cultural experience. The teacher enjoys the program because the kids are actively engaged and the class period seems to fly by.

Tips: 
Download the student "Explore Japan" Treasure Hunt worksheet and adapt it to fit your curriculum needs. If you do not have enough computers with Internet  access, print out the illustrated web pages of "Enter Through The Form: Explore Japan"  and make enough photocopies for your students to work individually or in pairs.

About the teacher:
Meryl Meisler is an artist who has taught in the New York City Public Schools since 1979. She is a member of the Teachers Network board of directors and project director of a collaborative website of hundreds of students' projects from The Institute for Collaborative Education (I.C.E.). Meryl and her colleague Francine LaPorte were selected to participate in the Japan Society's Educators Forum, a three-week travel study tour of Japan in the  summer of 2001. They authored "Enter Through The Form:
Explore Japan," an interdisciplinary study of Japanese belief and value systems' influence on its architecture and landscape design.
Meryl created "Explore Japan" so students can access information about contemporary Japan and its cultural heritage on the World Wide Web.

E-mail: 
meryl.meisler@gmail.com 

Subject Areas: 
Art 
History

Grade Levels: 
7-9

 

 

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