A Taste of Culture–A McGraw Hill Project
Subject: Language-learning,
Culture, Writing
Project Type: Classroom Collaborative Project
Teacher: mansary
Title: A
Taste of Culture–A McGraw Hill Project 
Food is an integral part
of any culture. One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is the opportunity
to try the dishes authentic to the country you are visiting. What, where, and
how people eat gives us clues to other important aspects of a culture. Through
researching and discussing popular dishes and drinks of the target country,
students will gain insight into the country’s geography, celebrations, daily
routines, and beliefs. As a culminating project, small groups of students will
choose a dish or drink to prepare and share with the class. They will also
complete a recipe sheet that can be compiled into a class cookbook.
Objectives and
will use interpersonal communication to obtain information and exchange
2. Students will interpret written and oral
messages and informational texts.
3. Students will present information and ideas
orally and in writing.
4. Students will understand that human cultures
exhibit both similarities and differences. 
5. Students will explain how products of a
culture relate to beliefs and perspectives.
6. Students will explain how practices of a
culture relate to beliefs and perspectives.
7. Students will gather and synthesize
information in order to solve problems.
8. Students will utilize ePals Global Community
social media tools.
9. Students will build a relationship with other
students in another part of the world using 21st century tools.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Creativity and Innovation
Information Literacy
Technology Literacy
Flexibility and Adaptability
Initiative and Self-Direction
Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
Productivity and Accountability
Communication 1.1, 1.2, 1.3
Cultures 2.1, 2.2
Connections 3.1, 3.2
Comparisons 4.2
Communities 5.1, 5.2
1 (Novice, Intermediate); 7 (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced); 10 (Novice,
Intermediate, Advanced)
Writing: 2 (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced);
4 (Novice, Intermediate); 6 (Novice, Intermediate); 7–8 (Novice, Intermediate,
Advanced); 10 (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced)
 Speaking and Listening: 1–2 (Novice,
Intermediate, Advanced); 5–6 (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced)
 Language: 3–6
Culminating Activity
A Taste
of Culture
For the culminating
activity, students will be preparing a popular dish or drink from the country
where the partnering class is located. They will also complete a recipe page
that can be compiled into a cookbook or as an online blog. If live
communication is possible with the partnering class, then the taste-testing
event can take place at the same time and be shared by using a technology such
as Skype.
Lesson Plan
Once your
class has been broken into pairs or small groups, have students follow these
1. Reply
to the post on the forum that asks the following questions: What are some of
your favorite foods and drinks? Does your family have a traditional dish or
drink they serve for a special occasion or holiday? How does your family
prepare food together? Students from both countries respond to the questions as
an introduction to the theme of the project. This will help students think
about the deeper cultural questions related to food customs.
2. Research
traditional dishes and drinks from the target country by reading replies on the
forum and by using other sources. Choose one you would be able to prepare for
the culminating activity. Keep in mind the following questions about your dish
or drink while doing your research. You will need this information for the
final recipe page and
when you present to the class. What time of day is the dish or drink typically
served? Is it associated with a holiday or celebration? How does it express
cultural ideas or beliefs? Is it popular throughout the country or only in a
specific area? What is the history behind the dish or drink? What can you infer
about the geography or climate based on the ingredients in the dish or drink?
3. Reply
to the second thread on the forum under the title, “Our dish/drink,” by posting
the dish or drink your group has decided to prepare. Review the forum and see
what others have shared about your dish or drink. Is there any information
there that can help you answer the questions from Step 1? Post any questions
you have for the partnering class about your dish or drink. Answer any
questions you can about what others are preparing. (You can repeat this step
throughout the project.)
4. Add
your recipe ingredients to our ingredients wiki page. If an ingredient has
already been listed by another student, just add an X after the ingredient.
What can we learn about cooking in the partnering country by examining this
collaborative list of ingredients?  What ingredients are most popular?
Why? In the forum, ask the students from the partnering country if the
conclusions you’ve drawn from the ingredient data are true.
Look at your recipe and be sure to convert the measurements from
the metric system to the U.S. standard of measurement.
6. Calculate
the nutritional
 of your dish or drink. Based on the results, decide if you
can eliminate, reduce, add, or substitute an ingredient to make your dish or
drink healthier. (For example, you can substitute brown rice for white rice.)
Be sure to note what you have changed because you will need this for the final
recipe page.
7. Review
the ingredients and decide if there are any that might be difficult to find or
too expensive to buy where you live. Brainstorm an alternative ingredient. (For
example, you could use melon instead of papaya.) Be sure to note what you have
changed because you will need this for the final recipe page.
8. Calculate
the estimated cost of your dish or drink based on the cost of the ingredients
in your area and add this to the final recipe page. Be sure you make it clear
if the cost is per serving or in total.
9. Share
your final recipe with the changes you’ve made on the forum under the thread,
“Final recipe.” Comment on other recipes and read the comments and questions
for your recipe. Decide if any further changes are necessary based on the
10. Complete
the final recipe page and
submit it to your teacher. If possible, include a photo or a drawing. Post the
final recipe page and your image to the gallery to share with the other

Participation Options:
can participate in this project in these ways:
Solo class: Class will complete Steps 1–10. The class can still create a
forum to share, ask questions, and give opinions amongst their classmates.
Students can have a taste test as a class or during a cultural fair at their
school. They can also compile the final recipes in a print or digital cookbook.
Classroom pairs: Two classrooms can join together to participate in Steps 1–10
and the forum. Teachers will need to coordinate a timeline for the completion
of the research and final recipes. They can also coordinate to have the live
taste test together if possible via a technology such as Skype. Students can
publish their final recipes and photos of the taste test to an online format to
Classroom pods: Three to five classrooms can join together to participate in
Steps 1–10 and the forum. Teachers will need to coordinate a timeline for the
completion of the research and final recipes. Students can publish their final
recipes and photos of the taste test to an online format to share. 

Collaborative Learning Design Components

This can be used to introduce project guidelines to students. The hosting
teacher will post the introduction and Steps 1–8 for the project. This is also
a good way to share the completed recipes. If students are able to prepare
their dish, then they could showcase what they created by taking photos and
posting them to the blog with the recipe.
Forum: The hosting teacher can post a welcome thread that
students can reply to for introduction purposes. Later there will be threads
started by the students on the dish or drink that they have chosen. The threads
can include questions that students might have for their counterparts in the
partnering country regarding ingredients, significance, or popularity of their
dish or drink.
Gallery: Use to share photos of the prepared dishes and drinks. If
the taste-testing event cannot be shared live, then the classes can share
photos of the event in the gallery.
Leveling and Scoring guides are provided to help assess students’ work.
Speaking Scoring Guide
Writing Scoring Guide
Holistic Scoring Guide 
Teacher Resources/Links
Libro de cocina
Speaking Scoring Guide
Writing Scoring Guide
Holistic Scoring Guide

Fine Art Connection
Tamalada by Carmen Lomas Garza
(Mexican American)
Dos niños comiendo melón y uvas by
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Spanish)
El velorio by Francisco Oller
(Puerto Rican)
Preparando tortillas and La piñata by Diego Rivera
Literature Connection
La alcachofa by Pablo Neruda
Como agua para chocolate by Laura
Esquivel (Mexican)
Los huevos verdes con jamón by Dr.
Suess (American)
Week 1:
First forum conversation and recipe research (Steps 1 and 2)
Week 2: Second forum
conversation, ingredients wiki page, measurement conversion, and nutritional
value calculation (Steps 3, 4, 5 and 6)
Week 3: Ingredient
reflection, cost analysis and recipe sharing/revision on forum (Steps 7, 8, and
Week 4: Culminating
project with final recipe presentation, posting recipe and photos to the
gallery, and taste-testing event (optional)


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