National Geographic's Enduring Voices Project strives to preserve endangered languages by identifying hotspots.
Does the city or town in which you live have a neighborhood in which a language other than English is commonly spoken? Are there restaurants that specialize in foods from other countries? If you live in or near a large urban area, is there a mosque or Buddhist temple?
How did these diverse cultural features come to your city or town? The movement of people, goods, or ideas from one place to another is a part of a process known as diffusion. And diffusion plays an important role in shaping the unique characteristics of the places in which we live.
a) Engage students in a discussion of the process of diffusion. Have them identify cultural characteristics of the local area that may be a result of diffusion, e.g., foods, religions, historic or cultural markers, local place names, celebrations, etc.
b) Gather a set of phone books for your or a nearby city or town. Divide students into small groups and assign each group one of the categories of diffusion that the class has identified. Have students scan listings in the phone books, especially the Yellow pages, to identify specific examples of diffusion in your community or a nearby city.
Presenting the Data
c) Once the students have collected data about diffusion in your community or a nearby city, have them sort the data by country or major region.
d) Now have the students prepare maps that show the source areas for the examples of diffusion that they have identified. Have them add lines to their maps that show that these countries or regions are linked to your local area.
e) Display student maps and lead a class discussion of how your local area has been influenced by diffusion.
Extending the Activity
a) Encourage students to research major diffusion streams that have affected world cultural patterns, such as:
i. the spread of the English language
ii. the spread of major religions
iii. major population movements
b) Have students search the Internet for photos and maps that reflect cultural diffusion. Have them use presentation software, such as PowerPoint, to share their research with the class.
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Teachers and Parents
Principals of schools in the U.S. with any of the grades four through eight are eligible to register their schools to receive contest materials for a school-level Bee.
Wondering how to register for the Bee or how to prepare? Our "Frequently Asked Questions" have the answers!
What's the best way for students to prepare for the Bee? Here are some tips from the National Geographic Bee.
Answer sample questions from the National Geographic Bee, and get ideas on how to look for clues within the questions that can help you figure out the right answers.
Quizzes to Go
Do you have what it takes to be the next National Geographic Bee Champion? Find out the fun way with the new GeoBee Challenge! Three types of game play make sure you really know your stuff and never get bored.
Google Earth Presents
A look into why geography is important to understand as students around the country prepare for the 2013 National Geographic Bee.
Teachers can use these activities in the classroom to prepare students for the bee!
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The movement of people, goods, or ideas from one place to another is a process known as diffusion, which plays an important role in shaping the characteristics of where we live.
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