Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
3rd Grade Studies Thailand
This year the third grade is studying Thailand. Thailand is called the "Jewel of the Orient" because of the rainforest, flowers, and animals. We will focus on school, religion, food, family structure, holidays and special events, government, and geography throughout the year. Facts and discussions are incorporated into the curriculum. Students are expected to compare the US to the Thai culture. Twice a month the 3rd graders rotate to different classes to learn about one topic.
Where is Thailand? Mrs. Nance will help the children learn to locate Thailand on a map. They will also discuss the physical features of the country. Thailand's 514,000 square kilometers lie in the middle of mainland Southeast Asia. It is the only land route that connects Asia to Malaysia, and Singapore. Some may find it interesting that different food is eaten in different regions of Thailand.
In Mrs. Carrasquillo's class, the students are learning about food and family structure. So far, they have studied five popular Thai fruit: mangos, rambutans, jackfruit, pomelos, and durian manosteens. The kids were amazed by the shape of the fruits. The durian and the rambutans are the most unique. Rambutan, covered by red filaments/hair, is a tropical fruit contains a sweet, juicy, white translucent flesh with a seed in the center. Available between May and Sept., it is an especially refreshing treat! The durian has a pungent smell and thorny husk and it is no wonder that the durian is hailed as the king of fruits! Despite its unforgiving appearance and smell, this fruit has a distinct taste that has to be acquired. Once acquired, you will be hooked for life! Students created a booklet of all the fruits with a definition and a picture, as well as made a durian using art supplies. Video clips and online resources aid in students' understanding.
In Ms. Folly's class the children are viewing videos of holidays, festivals, and celebrations. These festivities are compared to the American traditions using a Venn diagram T-chart, or list. Some of the holidays include New Year, Visakha Bucha, and the Monkey Festival. The people of Thailand celebrate three New Years (the American New Years, Chinese New Year, and their own New Year). Visakha Bucha Day celebrates the day Buddha was born, enlightened and died, and Monkey Festival is a feast celebrating the simians that live in Simian. Pictures and discussions support learning.
Ms. Burdette works with the classes on understanding the complexity of Buddhism. Buddha means awakened one. Buddhism is the main religion in Thailand. Ninety-five percent of the country practices Buddhism, while 5% practice Islam. There are three symbols that represent Buddhism: the lotus flower, the wheel of life, and Buddha. Coloring pages, video clips and discussions help the children relate to Thai religious beliefs to our own.
The students will learn about Thai aniamls from Ms. Campany. Although we find elephants in the zoo, elephants can be found walking the streets of Thailand! There are elephant crossing signs on the road as there are deer crossing signs in America! Americans may hit deer that is running across the street while driving, but an elephant will charge at a car with their lights on! Elephants are trained for a variety of tourism activities, such as painting, playing soccer, and giving guided tours. Walking under the belly of an elephant means good luck. There are elephant statues throughout Thailand and Thai people and tourist alike can be found walking under the statues. Many of the animals are found in the rainforest. Some dangerous creatures to be aware of, though, when visiting Thailand are centipedes, ants, and snakes. Giant centipedes can grow to be the size of a man's foream! Ants attack rather than run away from people, and snakes spit their venom into the air.
The third graders will also learn to speak some Thai with Mrs. Lewis. They will learn general phrases and to count count from one to ten in Thai. The full name of Bangkok in Thai is the longest city name in the world with 152 Thai letters! They will learn how to say these phrases in Thai: Hi, How are you?, Nice to Meet you!, See you later!.
Learning about Thai schools and procedures is Mrs. Twilmann's specialty. Children in Thailand do not wear shoes inside of school and are responsible for cleaning their schools, not custodians! Thailand schools range from 180-200 days a year. It begins in May and ends in Februrary. The students love to learn about children their own age. Mrs. Twillmann shares daily schedules, class specials, pledges, and songs taught in Thai schools.
Through engaging activities, videos, books, and deep discussion the third grades will be well rounded and knowledgeable about Thailand before moving on to fourth grade. When asked, "What is the most interesting thing you have learned about Thailand?" a child responded, "I love learning about the animals. I mean, a giant centipede the sizes of a man's forearm...gross!"
Written by: The Third Grade Teachers
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 by Kathy Gwinn