Festivals like Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year are times for celebration, giving gifts, reflecting on our common humanity and being grateful for the good things that life has to offer.
We’ve brought together here a range of teaching resources that you can use to explore issues of sustainability and interdependence over the festive season. Some are serious, some are fun… And please feel free to suggest more.
BBC Schools Religion
British Red Cross
- A series of wintry activities exploring wintry weather and community spirit.
- British Red Cross also run an end-of-year photo news quiz; sign up to Newsthink to get it.
- The Catholic aid agency has a Powerpoint Advent calendar for primary pupils and also an Advent calendar and additional teaching resources for secondary students. These explore CAFOD’s work with partners around the world.
- Assemblies and classroom activities on Christmas themes: Christmas wishes for primary and Christmas past, present and future for secondary.
- More resources, including an all-age talk and church activites, are available to download from Christian Aid’s Christmas webpage.
- Winter Teaching Ideas – 25 great suggestions for geographical teaching ideas suitable for primary and secondary students.
- Tzedek has a Key Stage 1 pack exploring Jewish festivals including Hannukah.
The cranberry harvest
- The Staffordshire Learning Net has pictures explaining the cranberry harvest. And How Stuff Works goes into more detail about cranberry growing.
- Which is ‘greener’ – a ‘real’ tree or a ‘fake’ one? The Guardian asks, as does Tree Hugger.
- Check out Geography In the News and Geointeractive for further suggestions around this theme.
- There are also lots of other things that can be used instead of trees. How about beer bottles? Or a load of bicycles? Can your students come up with other ideas?
- And how about some alternative power sources to keep them lit?
Santa and friends
- NORAD is a US-Canadian defence organisation which also has lots of information about Santa on a special NORAD Tracks Santa website.
- Ethical Ocean have created a tongue-in-cheek ‘infographic’ showing Santa’s Carbon Footprint which could give rise to some classroom debate…
- And if you want to find out more about Santa’s travelling companions, take a look at 11 Things You Might Not Know About Reindeer by Mental Floss.
The journeys made by food / presents
- One of our case studies has students researching What are the food miles in my Christmas dinner? This could extend to presents too.
- The Radical Geography website has a homework task around this idea.
- And check out the Christmas Made in China clip on YouTube – is this where all our toys come from?
Your students will probably love this video clip, and could find lots of other examples of madly decorated houses on the website www.houseblinger.com. But what are the implications in terms of energy use? Does it matter if it’s “only once a year”?
If you have any extra suggestions for topics and activities to include on this page, please let us know in the comments box below.
Best wishes for the festive season from all at Think Global!
Picture at top of page: Snow berries by Joshua Davies on flickr.com
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