When asked which country they would like to study next, the students selected Germany. Since some of the teachers have traveled to Germany and studied it’s language and culture, we were excited to delve into this wonderful place, rich with fascinating geography, history and of course, the food!
The students regularly open restaurants during their play, often 2 or more times a week. We make money, menus and seating areas to accommodate each restaurant and take turns being the customer, wait person and cook (I like to be the health inspector). Studying Germany inspired us to open a German restaurant, complete with sauerkraut and black forest cake. We discussed different currencies, including the US dollar, the euro, and the former German money, the mark.
Knowing already that Germany is home to many of the world’s greatest castles, the students decided they wanted to construct a model of a castle, complete with towers, a castle wall, and even a moat. Our books contained pictures, diagrams and facts about castles. As fans of the Magic School Bus books, we really enjoyed reading about Ms. Frizzle’s adventures in a medieval castle.
This tourism site proved to be a great resource for studying German castles. One of our favorites was Neuschwanstein Castle, famous for its fairy tale spires and inspiration for the Disney castles.
We learned about all the features we wanted our castle to have: towers, turrets, portcullis, moat, well, etc. Our castle project will be an ongoing project, but here is what we have so far:
We spent time reading and acting out German fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood. We enjoyed making puppets. Then we moved on to making our own little stories and plays. Steve and the students composed and performed several short plays, some of which tapped into the old tales.
We will certainly revisit Germany in our future studies.