Local school explores world cultures

By: Mickelson Middle School

Mickelson Middle School students ended their school year with a world tour.

The Geography of World Project, now in its 12th year, provides seventh-grade social studies students the chance to explore world cultures through research, writing, costumes, food and fun.

Eric Toft, Tyler Schneider and Melissa Bonthun teach seventh- grade geography at MMS and facilitated the project.

“We spend the whole year learning about how the world works: its connections, culture, economics, population, climate and so forth,” Schneider said.  “This project is the culmination of that learning, the chance to apply what they’ve learned.”    

Students chose a country to research then organized their research into a typed outline. They then incorporated the highlights of their research into a multi-media slideshow that they presented to their classmates.   

It is not all work and no play, however. The project also entails an open house opportunity. Students were dressed up in attire similar to that traditionally worn in their researched country and prepared samples of a native dish. This was all presented to families, friends and members of the public recently in the MMS cafetorium.

“I think that the costume and exotic food appeals to their imagination. It balances the research they put in, and provides an opportunity for parent involvement.” Schneider said. “It’s the perfect way to close out the year.”

The end-of-school-year event provided the students and more than 400 visitors to MMS insight into the world beyond South Dakota.

“It’s one thing to locate a place on the map, but when they dive into what the people are like, what’s going on there, it broadens their horizons,” Toft said.

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