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.
Bring the exciting competition of the National Geographic Bee to your school! Take advantage of the early-bird registration; the $100 fee includes contest materials and prizes. Schools with financial need can apply for discounts here.
Key National Geographic Bee Dates
August 18, 2015 - December 18, 2015
Early bird registration ($100)
Check or credit card payment accepted
December 19, 2015 - January 18, 2016
Credit card payment accepted
February 5, 2016
Deadline for School Bee Champs to take online qualifying test by 11:59 pm EST.
March 4, 2016
State Bees qualifiers are announced.
April 1, 2016
State Bees are held in every state and Washington, D.C.
May 22-25, 2016
National Championship held in Washington, D.C.
Test Your Geography IQ
Can you answer these video questions from the 2015 National Geographic Bee Championship? Questions from Pharrell Williams, Wynton Marsalis, and National Geographic Explorer Fredrik Hiebert will test your knowledge of the world.
How to Help
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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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