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Subject: Foreign Language, Culture, Social Studies

Grade Level: 9-12


Student will compare and contrast how historical events are taught in different cultures.  In the process students will communicate with experts and other students of the target culture using high technology such as e-mail and Internet.  The final result of what they found will be displayed in the method of their choice such as play performance and web page.  The display will be presented at the annual Foreign Language Festival in the Spring.

Learner Description/Environment:

Students will be multi-age, engaged learners, working collaboratively with students both in the classroom and at a distance.  The learning environment will be global and technologically rich.


Students are always interested in learning about the culture of the the target country. By researching and analyzing historical and current events of the target culture, they will acquire deeper knowledge of the country and develop healthy attitudes towards the people. Posting what American students have learned and the photographs of their life style to the web site of The Japan Forum gives benefits to Japanese students.

Time Frame:

This project can last one school year. They would begin preparing in Fall, as the Language Festival is in March.

Learner Outcomes:

    Students will be able to research information about a historical event such as WWII in their native language and in the target language
    Students will be able to use the Internet to research historical information
    Students will be able to communicate through e-mail with museums, newspapers, other sources of historical information 
    Students will be able to compare researched information from both cultures, for bias and accuracy
    Students and experts from both countries will be able to discuss their experience of how they were taught by parents, teachers and mass media.
    Students will be able to be more critical viewers of what they see and hear everyday in the news 
    Students will be able to apply their knowledge of past events to current events such as the economy, current conflicts, business and education 

Structure of the Learning:


Authentic Student tasks
Students will use the information learned to create a display for the Foreign Language Festival in March. (Note: Each middle and high school in Wisconsin has the annual festival in a specific week in March)  Display could include a performance written with comments and info learned during the communications. Or a video could be made of the play. Other options students could choose are to make food, use digital photos they've e-mailed back and forth, produce reports electronically, or use music and dance to relay their information. Create a web page with information designed for the display for those who cannot be there.

Several sites for cultural information and current events are available. Nipponia covers current events and life style of Japan. The Japan Forum allows them to post photos and information about their daily life, as well as learn about life in Japan. They will compare that to their own life style. They can link to these from their web page.

Students like to challenge traditional views, and exploring the "other side" of historical events helps them do this. They want to have a dynamite display at the Foreign Language Festival, and will work towards this all year. Invite guest speakers of different culture in the community and they will display things from their countries. 


Student Direction 
They can choose the topic, research method, display method, materials, and technologies they will use. 
They have to realize whatever they hear or read, there is some bias. The teacher will provide the challenge, and will guide the students in using the technology, finding resources, and evaluating the information.  The process will be assessed by observing how and if the students can use the technology and gather the information.


Display could include a performance written with comments and info learned during the communications.  Or a video could be made of the play. Other options they could choose are to make food, use digital photos they've emailed back and forth, produce reports electronically, or use music and dance to relay their information.
Create a web page with information designed for the display for those who cannot be there.  To assess, we can use a rubric and check for criteria.

Best Use of Technology:

Students can communicate with experts, mentors, and primary resources.  They can use the technology to create the display for the Foreign Language Festival.  They will also experience how technology can better inform them, provide more accurate historical facts than an "interpreted" version of history as are normally found.  They need to research events and contact people in the target country. They can choose the design and content of the web page. 


Involves the teacher's observation of the process, and the end product. The content is their choice and not a strong emphasis will be placed on assessing this.  The process will be assessed by observing the student's group work, individual work.  The product will be evaluated by these criteria: Minimal, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced performance using a rubric.

Project Evaluation:

If the students are engaged in the project and see it through, it is successful.  It worked well.  If  things didn't work well, we change them . We will reflect with our teammates and colleagues via email and other technologies.

Alignment with Standards:

Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Information & Technology Literacy

Media and Technology:  Students in Wisconsin select and use media and technology to access, organize, create, and communicate information for solving problems, and constructing new knowledge, products and academic needs.

Information and Inquiry:   Students in Wisconsin will access, evaluate and apply information efficiently and effectively from a variety of sources in print, non-print, and electronic formats to meet personal and academic needs.

Independent Learning: Students in Wisconsin will apply technological and information skills to issues of personal and academic interests by actively and independently seeking information; demonstrating critical and discriminating reading, listening, and viewing habits; and striving for personal excellence in learning and career pursuits.

The Learning Community: Students in Wisconsin will demonstrate the ability to work, collaboratively in terms of groups, use information and technology in a responsible manner, respect intellectual property rights, and recognize the importance of intellectual freedom and access to information in a democratic society.

State Goals for Japanese Language

Develop personal rationale for learning the Japanese language and culture

Understand and appreciate the uniqueness of Japanese culture


Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Foreign Languages

D. Culture

D.1. Interact in a variety of cultural contexts with sensitivity and respect.

D.2. Examine the role and importance of various activities within the cultures studies.

D.3. Explain how beliefs perspectives and attitudes affect behaviors within the cultures studies.


Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Social Studies

B.12.1 Explain different points of view on the same historical event, using data gathered from various sources, such as letters, journals, diaries, newspapers, government documents, and speeches.

B.12.2 Analyze primary and secondary sources related to a historical question to evaluate their relevance, make comparisons, integrate new information with prior knowledge, and come to a reasoned conclusion.

B.12.3 Recall, select, and analyze significant historical periods and the relationships among them.

B.12.4 Assess the validity of different interpretations of significant historical events.

B.12.5 Gather various types of historical evidence, including visual and quantitative data, to analyze issues of freedom and equality, liberty and order, region and nation, individual and community, law and conscience, diversity and civic duty; form a reasoned conclusion in the light of other possible conclusions; and develop a coherent argument in the light of other possible arguments..

B.12.13 Analyze examples of ongoing change within and across cultures, such as the development of ancient civilizations; the rise of nation-states; and social, economic, and political revolutions.

B.12.16 Describe the purpose and effects of treaties, alliances, and international organizations that characterize today's interconnected world.

B.12.17 Identify historical and current instances when national interests and global interests have seemed to be opposed and analyze the issues involved.

B.12.18 Explain the history of slavery, racial and ethnic discrimination, and efforts to eliminate discrimination in the United States and elsewhere in the world.


Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for English Language Arts

F.12.1 Conduct research and inquiry on self-selected or assigned topics, issues, or
problems and use an appropriate form to communicate their findings.


Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): Chris Rogers & Kazuko Stone
School: Green Bay, Wisconsin Team
Created: March 1, 1999 - Updated: April 27, 1999
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w99/projects/viewslant/present.html