Lesson 7: Japan

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How are Japanese and American cultures similar and different?
  • How can differences among countries lead to negative outcomes?

Facts and Definitions

  • Japan and America were enemies during World War II.
  • The Japanese bombed an American ship at Pearl Harbor.
  • The Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Skills

  • Read from a variety of genres to acquire information. (LA)
  • Conduct research by gathering information from a variety of sources. (LA)
  • Use written language to report information on a topic. (LA)
  • Share written, oral, and constructed projects in a variety of ways. (LA)
  • Read independently to build background knowledge. (LA)
  • Read orally from familiar texts with fluency (accuracy, expression, appropriate phrasing, and attention to punctuation). (LA)

Materials

  • cookie cutters* (Activity 1 - optional)
  • crayons, markers, or colored pencils* (Activity 2 - Option 2)
  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • globe or world map
  • journal
  • shallow plastic storage container (about 4" x 6")
  • sharp knife
  • silicon baking cups* (Activity 1 - optional)
  • timeline

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed

Introduction

Materials: globe or world map
Encourage your child to locate Japan on a globe or world map. Ask him what he knows about the country of Japan. Explain to him that tomorrow he will begin reading a novel about a young girl who lives in Japan.
Reading and Questions
Materials: journal
Ask your child to read the online booklet A Kids Guide to Japan (found at the following web link). Ask him the following questions when he has finished.
Questions
  1. What is the climate of Japan?
    It is warm and dry in the spring, rainy and then hot and humid in the summer, cool and breezy in the fall, and cold and sunny in the winter (and it snows in some areas).
  2. What kinds of food do Japanese people eat?
    Rice, fish, and vegetables are common. (Your child may also mention soup, fruit, or other items pictured on p. 5.)
  3. What are some traditions of the Japanese?
    Answers will vary. Your child may mention art traditions (painting on silk, calligraphy, bonsai, or origami), teahouses and the tea ceremony, wearing kimonos on special occasions, or traditional celebrations (Japanese New Year or the Shichi-Go-San Festival).
  4. How is the culture of Japan similar to the culture of the United States?
    Answers will vary.
  5. How is the culture of Japan different from that of the United States?
    Answers will vary.