Germany is a culture rich with history and steeped in traditions. This lesson plan designed for first graders celebrates the music, literature and food of the German culture through crafts, activities and wonderful children's literature.
Fast Facts to Share
- The capital of Germany is Berlin.
- Germany is located in Europe. (Hellp your students locate Germany on a globe or a map.)
- German is the main language spoken in the country.
- In 1961, the country of Germany was divided into two separate countries, by the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was torn down in 1990 an the country of Germany was united again.
- Children who live in rural parts of the country still wear clothing that resembles that which was worn by Hansel and Gretel.
- Germans are known for making cuckoo clocks.
- Germans began cooking small meat patties. Later, they were made in America and called "hamburgers" because they were originally made in Hamburg, Germany.
Great classical composers were from Germany. Ludwig von Beethoven and Johanes Brahams were both from Germany and were masters of piano concertos.
- Play selections from Beethoven's musical compositions.
- Play selections of Braham's music, especially Braham's Lullaby.
- Ask children to describe the feelings and emotion portrayed by the music.
Art Activity - Construct a Thermometer
Gabriel Fahrenheit was also from Germany. He developed the Fahrenheit thermometer. Students will enjoy this arts and crafts activity that also helps them understand how a thermometer works.
- white construction paper- cut in half lengthwise.
- fine point marker
- narrow red ribbon
- narrow white ribbon
- Cut a small slit horizontally on both the top and bottom of paper.
- Instruct children to draw small lines on one side of the paper.
- Label lines from 10-100, counting by tens.
- Cut white ribbon into 20 inch long pieces-one piece for each student.
- Cut red ribbon into 15 inch long pieces-one for each student.
- Staple the red ribbon to the white ribbon, connecting red ribbon to one end of the white ribbon. The opposite end of the red will end in the middle of the white ribbon. Staple the end.
- Thread the adjoined ribbons through the bottom slit of the thermometer, and threading it again, through the top. Connect the two ends of the ribbon, and staple in the back of the thermometer.
- Students should be able to make the red "mercury" rise and fall by pulling the ribbon in back of the thermometer.
Read The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The story takes place in Hamelin, Germany in the 13th Century, and tells the tale of a stranger who comes to town and offers to get rid of all the rats.
Ask the students, if they were writing the book The Pied Piper of Hamelin, is there anything they would change? Why?
- Guide a discussion about promises, friends and fairness
- Ask the children about the town, is it different than how we live today? How did people travel?
- The book provides a great way to reinforce the concepts of place - review the prepositions on, in, under, into, out of, onto
- The book also talks about a large number of rats, and provides an opportunity to reinforce the concept of larger numbers.
- Encourage students to act out the story - it's great for that.
A Fun Food Experience to End the Day
German people invented the pretzel.
- Have a variety of pretzels for the children to compare.
- Provide small pretzels, soft pretzels, pretzel sticks and pretzel rods.
- Take a vote on which pretzel style is the favorite.