Think Like a Teacher: Indian Caste System Learning Activity

This learning activity is for a seventh grade social studies class. We are currently studying about Southern and Eastern Asia and all aspects of their culture, society, government and land. I wanted to develop an assignment that would integrate many different types of activities for all of my students. I also wanted a project that would include multiple assignments with a current technology tool. For this learning activity, the students would pick one of the Indian caste system classifications out of a hat. They would then break up into those groups and start researching all aspects of their caste. Then, they would begin a series of assignments and upload the finished products to their personal blog. The conclusion of the project would be each caste system presenting their caste to the class with a tradition from that culture. For example, a traditional dance, type of food or game. I feel this activity would incorporate some sort of activity that would interest every students.

I would introduce the activity by showing clips of movies that take place in India. It would be a montage of clips from films like, Slumdog Millionaire, Gandhi, and Eat, Pray, Love.  These are titles that the students will recognize and be able to relate to. Next, the students will pick one of the three modern caste classifications out of a hat. The caste systems will also be divided by the percentage of the population that is in that caste. For example, fewer students in the highest caste classification because there are only 16% in this caste and more in the lower class because this represents 52% of the population. I will explain to my students the importance of understanding countries all around the world, especially, ones that are opposites of ours. The students will also find similarities between the societies as well. I will also display visuals showing the growth in education and involvement with the United States and how this is important for future business. I think that showing them current ways that this project is necessary will help them relate and eager to learn more about the topic.

During the activity, the students will create a blog and update it with the activities throughout the unit. This would actually be very similar to the website we are creating for the semester, but really more of a journal type site with pictures, text and videos. The final element of the project would be the in class presentation with a video or series of pictures on their blogs. The technology incorporated in this activity would not only be keeping up with the blog, but researching online, editing videos and pictures and many other aspects that may come along throughout the project. The students can communicate via their blogs to other classmates, friends, and family that are keeping up with the progress of their project. I would also like the blogs to have high security settings so the are not available to everyone on the Internet. The students will not be allowed to post personal information, but better to be safe when working with students and the Internet! Technology will greatly assist the students in the lectures, because completing these tasks without the Internet and online resources would be near impossible. Also, a blog is much more current than keeping a binder of assignments.

While the students are hard at work on this continuous project, I will be keeping up with each of my student’s blogs. I will grade each individual assignment, provide suggestions and make sure their blog is appropriate and relevant. I also want to show video clips throughout the project that relate to the upcoming assignment and do random PowerPoint lectures about information. My goal is for this project to be very hands on for the students, but of course I will be there to guide and explain things to my students.

I think that this project would be very successful and captivating for 7th grade social studies students. It will not be like any other project they have done and they will really be able to submerse themselves into the information that they are researching. I highly suggest this activity to any classroom that is studying this topic. This learning activity could also be used for other countries and divided by region, cities or villages. Enjoy!