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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools


Building Bridges for Young Learners

Africa, Asia, Central America and Mexico, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, Pacific Islands, South America, The Caribbean, Uzbekistan
Grades 3-5, Grades K-2
Cross-Cultural Understanding, Language Arts & Literature, Social Studies & Geography

The following lesson engages young children in exploring the concept of school and education with an exploration of the varied factors that influence children's access to formal schooling, the subjects taught and learned, and children's role in their classroom.


Students will:

  • describe the purposes of education in society.
  • compare and contrast own schooling experience with those of other children around the world.
  • locate the country of Uzbekistan, comparing and contrasting its physical and cultural features to those of the United States.


  • education: the process of learning new knowledge and skills, resulting in changes in thought and behavior
  • classmate: a peer of the same class or school
  • schedule: a preset structure for routines and activities
  • school: a place set apart for the purpose of formal learning
  • student: one who is engaged in learning
  • teacher: one who facilitates the learning of others 



  1.  Read aloud the letter from Hamid, a young boy who lives in the country of Uzbekistan. Explain that he is a child who lives in another country in a part of the world that is far away. Uzbekistan is located in central Asia. Reinforce that Asia is the largest of all continents and that it is comprised of many diverse countries having diverse landscapes, climates, and cultures.
  2. Locate Uzbekistan on a map, globe, or digital resource. Highlight its neighboring countries and geographic concepts, including that the country is surrounded by land and that there are both mountains and desert areas in the country with many rural locations. Ask children to make observations about the geographic characteristics of the country and how these natural landforms may influence how Uzbek families live, work, and go to school.
  3. Note that just like the United States of America, Uzbekistan offers public education and there are few private schools in the country.
  4. Explain that the students will be learning more about Hamid and children just like him, including what children like him do for fun in school and how most children can and do attend school for at least 11 years. Students will compare and contrast schooling around the world.
  5. Read aloud the Peace Corps' children's e-book, School.
  6. Compare and contrast the purpose of education and schooling around the world, including the following concepts:
    • How communities/cultures educate their children and youth.
    • The importance of education.
    • How geography may affect children's schooling
    • Differences in access (e.g., Children in America are entitled to a free public education beginning at age 5 whereas children in some countries do not have access to free public education.)
  7. Using a Venn diagram, note similarities and unique features of school in your community and in a specific country as highlighted in the e-book.
    Note to teacher : If needed, research with your class the unique features of school in the specific country you have chosen.
  8. Emphasize specifically how children in your community and the chosen country (a) travel to school; (b) what they study and how they learn; (c) class size; (d) how long children attend school during the day; (e) the length of the school year; (f) extra-curricular activities available.
  9. Explain that the class will illustrate and write about a typical day at school to share with Hamid but instead of writing the traditional letter, they will be creating a storyboard with photos/pictures and descriptions of each.
  10. Using the story board template provided, have the students draw individual pictures for each activity, or take digital photos of each part of their day at school. These pictures/photos should begin with them arriving at school and end with them being dismissed at the end of the day. Some examples of activities are: morning announcements, what subjects are taught daily and when, lunch (what is a typical lunch at your school), recess, etc.
  11. By putting all the pictures/photos in order with their description assemble a "Day in the Life of Our Classroom or School" with your class.
  12. This project can also be created using a digital storytelling tool available on the internet, many of which are low or no cost. 

Frameworks & Standards

 Enduring Understandings
  • The environment affects how people live and how children go to school.
  • Learning can occur anywhere, including at home, at school, and in the community. Education is an important and necessary part of an individual's development.
  • An individual's actions can have an impact on him or herself, his or her family, community, and culture.
Essential Questions
  • How do adults teach the young in my culture? In other cultures?
  • How are schools around the world similar? different? (e.g., who has access, how long children attend school, what subjects are taught etc.)
  • How and why does where we live influence how we live, including how (or whether) children go to school?
  • What role do I play in my school?
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
    • 2.L.01 Cognitive Development: Social Studies- positive identity, sense of self and others
    • 2.L.03 Cognitive Development: Social Studies- understanding of diversity
    • 2.L.09 Cognitive Development: Social Studies- contribute to classroom and community
  • National Social Studies Standards
    • Thematic Strand I: Culture
    • Thematic Strand IV: Individual Development &Identity
    • Thematic Strand V: Individuals, Groups, & Institutions
  • National Geography Standards
    • Essential Element 1: The World in Spatial Terms
    • Essential Element 2: Places and Regions
  • Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy
    • Reading: Informational Text
      • Key Ideas and Details: describe connections; group reading
    • Writing
      • Text Types and Purposes: compose informative texts; narratives
      • Research to Build and Present Knowledge: recall information from experiences
    • Speaking and Listening
      • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: describe familiar people places things and events; add drawings or visual displays for detail
    • Language
      • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: use words and phrases acquired through reading and being read to 


  • Invite a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer through the Coverdell World Wise Schools Speakers Match program to speak to your class. S/he can discuss experiences learning about schools in the community they served in.
  • Explore Camp Glow where girls lead other girls.
  • View the Coverdell World Wise Schools slideshow Go to School for a Day in Namibia
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