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Turkey: Traditions & Today

Discover how the past affects the future—with a triarama that shows a country’s history, people, and traditions.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Organize students into small groups. Inform teams that they will be investigating how nations are built. During the research period of this activity, each group will look into the elements that define a country and look for examples of several different reasons for nation building.
    2. Once research is complete and groups have shared their findings, focus on the country of Turkey. This unique country made a significant shift in the early 1920s when it moved away from the Islamic empire to a secular nation with an Islamic majority. Who or what was responsible for this shift? Invite students to explore the changes that occurred in Turkey during this time period and how these changes made Turkey a different place from its Islamic neighbors.
    3. Part of student research may focus on the various ethnic groups that make up Turkey's population. Use information gained from this investigation to create the group's triarama.
    4. Create replica people. From a file folder, cut out several miniature people with Crayola® Scissors. Dress the people to represent Turkish ethnic groups with Crayola Washable Markers. To create diverse skin colors, use Crayola Multicultural Markers.
    5. To make the figures stand, make a small cut along the feet near each end. Cut narrow strips of file folder longer than the base. Make cuts at both ends. Fit the strip into the cuts, looping behind the figure to make it stand upright.
    6. Design a triarama backdrop. Cut another file folder into a large square. Fold it into a triangle, point to point, in both directions. Cut one of these folds to the center of the square. Slide cut triangles on top of one another to form a floor. Then unfold it to decorate, such as a parade or dance scene. Add a Turkish flag, rug, or tapestry.
    7. Fold the triarama into place and secure the floor with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry the glue. Student groups present the information researched to classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Represent and interpret data.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Compare and contrast different stories or accounts about past events, people, places, or situations, identifying how they contribute to our understanding of the past.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    SS: Identify and describe factors that contribute to cooperation and cause disputes within and among groups and nations.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Turkey (Country Explorers) by Madeline Donaldson; National Geographic Countries of the World: Turkey by Sarah Shields; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Turkey by Suzanne Swan; Welcome to Turkey (Welcome to My Country) by Vilmala Alexander

    Encourage students to explore the Muslim religion in-depth. Compare and contrast it to religious better known in students' home country. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.

    The country of Turkey holds great significance to both the continents of Asia and Europe. Students examine its role and include in this inquiry a look at the natural resources Turkey has to offer the region.

    Students investigate the Kurds, the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East. Research the history of these people and the struggles they have endured.

    Students investigate the size of the country of Turkey, its overall population, as well as the various ethnic groups that make up that population, significant landmarks that are within its terrain, etc. Create a map of Turkey including this information. Connect the land to any surrounding bodies of water and neighboring countries. Identify the latitude and longitude of the nation's capital city. Include any other information deemed pertinent to this investigation.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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