Teaching about Europe

Europe is considered to be by many the cradle of western civilization. Egypt was fascinating, with the pyramids and the Sphinx, but most people can tell you more about Greece and Rome than Cairo. Customs and history of the western world are all heavily entwined with Europe/ Because of this it is important that children get a good exposure to the wonders of Europe, and what better way than through a bulletin board!

Europe runs from the lower fringes of the Arctic Circle down to the top edge the Mediterranean Sea just north of Africa and then from the Atlantic Ocean to where it merges into Asia, the bulletin board should show this with a map of the continent. The continent can cover the board and show the main geographical features such as the mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, the Black Sea. Only make outlines for the countries.

Now have the children go on the Internet and find a photo that characterizes each country. Greece could be the temple at Athens and Italy the Parthenon. A bank could be for Switzerland and fjords for Norway. A wind mill for Holland and Paris for France. The photos need to be easily identifiable and printed on paper so they can be cut up! Cut the pictures into the shape of the country and the staple to the board. Assign each photograph a number. Your European Bulletin Board has become a game.

The game is to see how many countries each student can recognise, either by shape or from the picture. The reason for having each child do one picture is so everybody knows at least one! The students can be given a sheet and then try to identify as many as possible. Each right answer could be worth 1/2 point on the next history/geography test.

Another game the board can be used for is to pick a country, look at the photograph and then have the students write what they think is happening in the country. This encourages imagination and writing skills, as well as tells the teacher what the child knows about that part of Europe! It may also tell the teacher about misconceptions that the child may have. Both things are valuable to know.

The European Bulletin Board is set. It teaches, it is for playing games, and the class helped. Everyone can take pride in a bulletin board well done!