Through the Form: Explore Japan Treasure Hunt
Curriculum Unit: http://teachnet-lab.org/meisler/thebleedingedge/features/japan_enter/mmpages
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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
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.