Stories from Africa and Asia
Age 8-10: Concept 3 - Similarities and Differences: Unit 1

Experience the cultures of Africa and Asia through the eyes of a girl in Botswana and a Japanese girl living in Hiroshima after World War 2. Appreciate the lives of children across the world by examining similarities and differences. This unit provides an introduction to writing a formal report, explores story conflict, introduces haiku poems, and reviews verb tense.

This unit can be used independently but is designed to be taught in conjunction with the science and social studies unit Africa and Asia.


  • Able to read and comprehend chapter books at a 4th or 5th grade reading level
  • Able to write an organized paragraph
  • Usually used by children in fourth grade

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: Meerkats in Botswana
  • Lesson 2: Meeting Precious
  • Lesson 3: The Surprise
  • Lesson 4: A Missing Cow
  • Lesson 5: A Good Idea
  • Lesson 6: African Bush Diorama (2 Days)
  • Lesson 7: Japan
  • Lesson 8: Peace Day
  • Lesson 9: The Secret is Out
  • Lesson 10: Kenji
  • Lesson 11: O Bon
  • Lesson 12: Racing the Wind
  • Lesson 13: Precious and Sadako

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Analyze characters, including their traits, feelings, relationships, and changes. (Language Arts)
  • Answer open-ended questions. (Language Arts)
  • Compare experiences of characters across cultures. (Language Arts)
  • Compose a draft that conveys major ideas and maintains focus on the topic. (Language Arts)
  • Compose a variety of written products, including letters. (Language Arts)
  • Conduct research by gathering information from a variety of sources. (Language Arts)
  • Connect experiences and ideas with those of others through speaking and listening. (Language Arts)
  • Connect personal experiences with the life experiences, language, customs, and culture of others. (Language Arts)
  • Consider a character's point of view (Language Arts)
  • Develop vocabulary through reading. (Language Arts)
  • Draw conclusions, make generalizations, and gather support by referencing the text. (Language Arts)
  • Extend vocabulary through word study. (Language Arts)
  • Identify (with assistance) the purpose, the audience, and the appropriate form for the oral or written assignment. (Language Arts)
  • Identify and discuss similarities and differences in events, characters, concepts, and ideas within and across selections and support them by referencing the text. (Language Arts)
  • Identify areas of further study when reading text. (Language Arts)
  • Identify the conflict in a story. (Language Arts)
  • Identify the purpose, audience, and appropriate form for a written task. (Language Arts)
  • Interact with text by making predictions and drawing connections. (Language Arts)
  • Locate information for specific purposes. (Language Arts)
  • Make predictions about text. (Language Arts)
  • Practice different kinds of questions and tasks, including test-like comprehension questions. (Language Arts)
  • Present information in a sequenced, logical manner. (Language Arts)
  • Read from a variety of genres to acquire information. (Language Arts)
  • Read independently to build background knowledge. (Language Arts)
  • Read orally from familiar texts with fluency (accuracy, expression, appropriate phrasing, and attention to punctuation). (Language Arts)
  • Read silently and orally from text. (Language Arts)
  • Recognize the number of syllables in a word. (Language Arts)
  • Recount or narrate. (Language Arts)
  • Relate plot, setting, and characters to own experiences. (Language Arts)
  • Represent text information in different ways, including story maps, graphs, and charts. (Language Arts)
  • Respond to stories and poems in ways that reflect understanding (in discussion, in writing, and through movement, music, art, and drama). (Language Arts)
  • Share information and ideas. (Language Arts)
  • Share written, oral, and constructed projects in a variety of ways. (Language Arts)
  • Summarize the plot or major events of a story. (Language Arts)
  • Sustain conversation on a topic. (Language Arts)
  • Use oral and written language to present information in a sequenced, logical manner. (Language Arts)
  • Use planning strategies to organize ideas. (Language Arts)
  • Use the correct verb tense when writing sentences. (Language Arts)
  • Use word reference materials (e.g. dictionary, glossary) to confirm decoding skills, verify spelling, and extend meanings of words. (Language Arts)
  • Use written language to report information on a topic. (Language Arts)
  • Write in different forms, such as poetry, for different purposes. (Language Arts)
  • Write to record ideas and reflections. (Language Arts)
  • Differentiate between groups and species of animals. (Science)
  • Identify habitats and the living things that exist there. (Science)
  • Recognize types of scientists and the jobs that they do. (Science)
  • Recognize types of scientists and the jobs they do. (Science)
  • Analyze similarities and differences among families in different times and places. (Social Studies)
  • Compare traditions that reflect cultures, regions, and customs. (Social Studies)
  • Describe similarities and differences among communities in different times and in different places. (Social Studies)
  • Distinguish and compare the roles of children and adults in the local community to selected communities around the world. (Social Studies)
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