Foreign Travel

Foreign Travel

Course(s)/Subject(s): Social Studies

Grade Level(s): Eighth

Key Words: Social Studies, technology, embassy, ambassador, passport, visa

Developer(s) Name: Thomas Jones

School: Carl Sandburg

Approximate Time Frame: Two class periods (one on computer; one in the classroom)

Materials/Equipment Needed: One computer for each student (with Internet capability), attached to printer

Description of Lesson (includes context):As a part of their geographic studies, students will be taking a "trip" to a foreign country, via the Internet. Each student will visit the website of the U.S. embassy of a different country, and gather bits of information that would be important for them to know (as if they were getting ready to travel to that country, in actuality). This lesson is designed to give students a better appreciation of the complexities of foreign travel, including diversities in laws, language, monetary exchange and customs. This lesson works much better if you are doing it in conjunction with a particular region or continent -- I will be using Central and South America to illustrate the lesson.


  1. What is the objective of this lesson? The objective of this lesson is for students to gain a better understanding of human geography. They will learn how to adapt to life in a foreign country, through the access of U.S. embassies overseas, via the Internet.

FCPS POS Standards: 8.4, 8.5, 8.6

FCPS POS Benchmarks:8.4.1, 8.5.1, 8.5.2, 8.5.3, 8.5.6, 8.6.2

FCPS POS Indicators:c. Explain how world regions reflect the shared cultural characteristics and history of their inhabitants. (10.3, 10.4)

VA SOL(s) (including Computer/Technology): C/T5.1, C/T5.2, C/T5.3, C/T5.4


  1. What will we examine as evidence of students' knowledge and/or skill?

Product(s): Print out the Home Page of the selected U.S. embassy; answer a brief set of questions about the country (what is that country's monetary system? what is the predominant language? what major industries are available for an American to work in? what language barriers need to be overcome?, etc.)

Performance(s): Students will make a presentation before their classmates about their

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selected country and what they learned from the Internet.

Other: Visual products can be created which can add a colorful and meaningful aspect to the unit of study.


  1. What exactly will the students and teacher do during the lesson?

Directions to students for proceeding with the lesson:

  1. "You have each been given the name of a (Central American or South American)
    country. Explore the Internet to find the website for the U.S. Embassy of the country
    you have been assigned. If you need assistance or cannot locate it, please let me know--
    afteryou have attempted several searches. Print out a copy of the Home Page for that
    particular embassy."
  2. "Using the information on the web, answer the questions on the sheet I have provided
    for you (there will be a list of six or seven questions about the country -- What is/are
    the predominant languages in the country? What kind of money will you need and how
    does it convert to American money? What kinds of job opportunities are available to
    Americans right now in that country? What are some of the major laws that I might
    need to be familiar with? Do I need any shots? What kinds of medical treatment are
    available? How will I travel about? What about food and lodging?). Tomorrow, we
    will be sharing information with our classmates, and we will see how some countries
    vary in terms of money, employment, culture and customs."

Directions to teacher/administrator using the lesson?

  1. Teachers must be cognizant of the fact that some students will want to "stray" when
    given Internet access. It is important that they circulate and keep students on task. It is
    also important for teachers to have a list of the different websites for the countries being
    researched, to avoid a lot of frustration and wasted time on behalf of the students.
    Teachers should also challenge the students with probing questions, that might be
    asked over the Internet (for those students who want to take their research one step
    further). Do not give students the absolute freedom to print -- I always have students
    raise their hands before accessing the print mode, so that I can monitor activities and
    avoid "logjams".


  1. What options in presentation(s) and/or response(s) are suggested in order to provide the opportunity for all students to demonstrate achievement of the benchmark(s) and indicator(s)?

Students can create a poster or collage of the information they have gathered, which
will aid in their presentation to the class. After sharing, these visuals can be displayed
around the classroom, and add to the setting for the unit of study for that particular region.
Students can then draw comparisons and contrasts between the country they researched
with other countries and with the U.S.

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Some students (ESL, in particular) can benefit by being given the opportunity to research a country that they have family ties to/with.