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Seventh Graders Explore the Globe Through Cultural Iceberg Project

students posed with their iceberg creations(December 15, 2022) Utilizing a project based learning framework, seventh graders in Isaac Stanford’s World Cultures and Geography classes analyzed their own cultures with “cultural icebergs.” Throughout the unit, they explored several essential questions regarding the importance of culture in society.

The final student artifacts were based on the iceberg as a metaphor for culture. Just like an iceberg, the visible part of culture is only a small part of a much larger whole. Students identified important elements of their culture and created symbols to represent them. They decided if the symbols should go above or below the water line of their icebergs. Visible elements of culture appear above the water and non-visible elements of culture go below the water line. 

To prepare, students compared and contrasted cultures from around the world with several cultural case studies such as the Kazakhs of Western Mongolia and the Yup'ik fishing culture of Southwest Alaska. 

They explored concepts such as ethnocentrism, symbolism, anthropology, identity, and culture. They also gained an understanding about the components of culture and how it spreads and changes over time. 

Students went through the design process to create their icebergs. They started  deciphering how to decode symbols and began drafting their own. Students received feedback on their drafts and incorporated them into their next iteration. They reflected on their work and voted for their favorite projects. They celebrated the completion of the project by being awarded 3D prints for excellent work on the project and on reflection. 

View photos.