Designed as inquiry, investigation, then creation, this learning experience gives learners an opportunity to discover and understand how culture and geography can shape our beliefs as individuals. Students will read and analyze various texts from different cultures, collaboratively identify main ideas and key details to support their understanding, and then create their own cultural narratives.

Students will be able to…

  • Read and analyze informational text. Determine main ideas and key details when unpacking text.
  • Write creative narratives based on cultural research.
  • Use technology tools to manage writing.
  • Work collaboratively and creatively.


A great way to begin discussion is to try a backchannel chat. This allows all students to participate. For this lesson, the teacher poses the question using a backchannel platform such as Today’s Meet: How does culture shape our beliefs? You could also try Padlet or even a Google Doc. As students respond online, the teacher facilitates discussion, encouraging more questions for deeper learning. Questions do not have to be answered, as these questions may be explored in the next part of the lesson. Depending on the learners, they may want to break up into small groups to continue discussion or the teacher could facilitate and crowdsource all the responses into something like Answer Garden to show connected thinking within the class.

This inquiry may actually lead to more questions to explore throughout this lesson:

  • What exactly is culture?
  • What constitutes a “belief?”
  • What is the difference between a belief and a manifestation/act of that belief?
  • How are group beliefs/culture different than individual beliefs/culture?


Using a platform like reading passages (according to grade and reading levels), choose passages that reflect culture, geography and belief systems such as Foot Binding, Halau Hula, Islam, and Battle of the Bagel. Have students break into small groups and investigate how culture and beliefs connect. Students read together and use a collaborative platform such as Google Doc or Pages to collect responses to earlier inquiry questions. It may also be helpful to have students complete the comprehension questions provided on ReadWorks together, as well as explore their own ideas and questions. Students may explore different paths of thought, depending on the subject of their reading.

  • Compare and contrast the different elements of culture in each story.
  • Distinguish between what is a belief and what is a manifiestation of that belief.
  • How important is the individual? How important is the group?
  • How does the cultural practice connect to the belief system?
  • What are norms within the culture and are they rooted in a belief system?

Using the platform of their choice (with publication) such as Strip Designer, Book Creator or even iMovie, students draft their own creative cultural narratives applying ideas and understandings they uncovered and explored through the question: How does culture shape our beliefs? This can be both informative and creative, as students can apply their learning from investigations as well as create something that expresses their understanding of their own culture and beliefs.

Consider this process:

  • Analyze data collected from reading the various articles and stories.
  • Turn your data into knowledge and wisdom by finding connections, patterns, and big ideas.
  • Identify how you want to communicate and share wisdom and knowledge, i.e. comic strip, video, online book.
  • Rough draft/cut your work.
  • Confer/Feedback
  • Create
  • Present

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