The Way We Are Classroom Project

Presented by ePals and National Geographic
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The?Way We Are: An Introduction to ePals
People and Culture
Photograph by GORDON WILTSIE
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What makes us who we are? In this introductory project, students will engage in a collaborative learning experience. Through email exchanges, students will build friendships and learn about the daily lives and characteristics of the local environment of students who live in another region of the world.

This unit may be taught to both lower elementary students (grades 2-4) and to upper elementary and secondary students (grades 5-7). There are notes in each lesson for how the unit can be modified to meet the needs of your classroom.

Adapted from an original concept from David Chernobilsky, ePals teacher member since 1999.
Essential Questions
  1. How is my life similar to and different from my ePal's life?
  2. How does the natural environment where my ePal lives affect his or her life?
  3. What effect does the culture in my ePal's region have on his or her life?
  1. Students will be able to compose well-written emails to their ePals.
  2. Students will be able to concretely describe specific details of their lives and make predictions about their ePals' lives.
  3. Students will be able to use maps to explore and analyze places.
  4. Students will be able to identify similarities and differences between themselves and their ePals.
  5. Students will be able to give specific examples of what it means to be from a different culture.
  6. Students will build a relationship with a student in another region of the world.
Culminating Activity?
Students will create final digital presentations about themselves and their ePals reflecting an increased understanding of the differences and commonalities between their cultures, their environments and their lives.
Project Elements?
This project has four parts:
  1. Engage, Activate Prior Knowledge and Build Context;
  2. Exchange of four emails with ePals;
  3. Create presentations about ePals' countries as a culminating activity; and,
  4. Reflect/Assess.
National Geography Standards
Places and Regions
Standard 6: How culture and experience influence people's perception of places and regions.
Human Systems
Standard 10: The characteristics, distributions, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.
Standard 12: The process, patterns, and functions of human settlement.

National Education Technology Standards (NETS)?