During my time teaching in a bilingual school in Guatemala City, I taught geography to two groups of highly motivated 9th graders. This was a class I genuinely loved to teach, because my passion for world travel, languages, and cultures could really shine. One of my favorite units of study was about Asia. This region of the world is home to roughly two-thirds of the world population, but is often overlooked and under-studied in our Western classrooms. One of my favorite projects we worked on that first year, was a study of various landmarks in Asia. The instructions were pretty simple: to choose a significant landmark in Asia, and to recreate it using recycled (or mostly recycled) materials, and then present it to the class.
To get students thinking, I created this presentation/PDF of ideas of famous and significant landmarks from across Asia. This inspired many students who chose ideas from the list, while there were several other students who requested to create other landmarks (which I readily approved). You can take a look at this presentation here.
Here were some of the results:
The Great Buddha (left) was created using used balloons from a birthday party, and papier mache. The Beijing Olympic Swim Stadium (center) was created from repurposed wooden pallets from a student whose mother used them in her business. The “water” to fill the pool in the center was hair gel.
Here are student’s comments about what they learned from this project…
“At the beginning, it was hard to find the right sources for the research because most of the sources were incorrect or were not trustworthy. Now I am more capable of finding reliable sources. Also, at the beginning it was kind of hard to keep up with schedule until we were able to organize ourselves correctly.”
“What was hard for me before doing this project was to agree with my group what should each member do. But with this project, I knew that I could rely on my partner to do his part, and I knew what I had to do, and we worked really well as a team.”
“For me doing the landmark was the most difficult part because we needed to get all the recycled materials together and then have a very good imagination to do it.”
If you would like to download this project with instructions and rubric, you can find it at my TeachersPayTeachers store here: