Korea

GEOGRAPHY—Maps & Images

Lesson IdeaJourney to Korea!
Have the students make passports that will be stamped as they enter Korea. On a large world map, students can plot their journey to Korea.

Maps & Images East Asia in Geographic Perspective [Asia for Educators]
Teachers seeking maps and other visual materials on landscape and culture are encouraged to consult this teaching module on East Asia’s geography. Standard 4: Physical and Human Characteristics of Places will be particularly useful.

Lesson PlanGeography of Korea [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades K-5. In this lesson students will: 1) learn about the location and physical features of Korea; and 2) learn basic geography terms, including the layers of the earth’s core.

Lesson PlanKorea: It’s in the Bag [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 4-6. In this lesson students will: 1) identify the physical shape of the Korean peninsula; 2) label the physical and political features of the peninsula; and 3) draw conclusions as to how physical systems affect human systems.

Lesson PlanKorea: “Home Sweet Home” [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 4-8. In this lesson students will: 1) identify the geographic regions of Korea used for human settlement; 2) analyze the physical systems and how they have affected the human life; 3) explain how scarcity and choice have shaped the Korean culture.

Images Photographs of Korea for the Classroom [East Asia in Geographic Perspective, Asia for Educators]
Part of a larger unit on East Asia's Geography.

Lesson PlanCity or Country Life? [National Geographic]
For grades 3-5. Students often think of Asia as being “undeveloped” and rural, but some of the world’s largest and most dynamic cities are located there. With this lesson plan, students will come to better determine what is “urban” and what is “rural.” Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, and Hong Kong are examined, as are villages in East Asia’s agricultural areas. Note to teachers: The examples in the first part of this lesson plan do not cover Asia specifically. Teachers looking for Asian samples for the first part of the lesson should use the Webcam links mentioned above. For Asia content and related links in this lesson plan, go to the “Extending Lesson” section.

Lesson PlanMarketplaces of Asia [National Geographic]
For grades 3-5. By virtually visiting a mall in Seoul, a night market in Hong Kong, the Sunday Market in Kashi (China), a bazaar in Samarqand (Uzbekistan), and a street market in Beijing, students are able to understand the human and physical characteristics of “markets” and “marketplaces” in Asian culture.

GEOGRAPHY—Food & Culture

Lesson IdeaRice Cultivation
Have students research and discuss the stages of rice cultivation and compare wet-rice and dry-rice techniques. Discuss how climate determines which crops are grown around the world.

Lesson PlanThe Rhythm of Rice Production [National Geographic]
For grades K-2. Students will explore the importance of rice in Asian communities. They will then learn about the “rhythm” of rice production as they are introduced to its growing cycle. Finally, students will create seasonal images of rice cultivation in a calendar format.

Lesson IdeaChopsticks
Have students practice using chopsticks. Discuss what countries use chopsticks as eating utensils. [Answer: China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam — the countries that form the East Asian cultural sphere. They also share Confucian thought, Buddhism, and the use of Chinese characters at some point in their histories.] Note that in many other countries of South, Southeast, and West Asia the custom is to eat with one hand, often using breads to scoop food.

| back to top |

LANGUAGE—Han'gui, the Korean Alphabet

Lesson PlanThe Korean Alphabet: Sounds and First Words [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 1-3. In this lesson students will: 1) learn the sound for each letter of the Korean alphabet (han’gul ) and 2) sound out simple words and phrases written in han’gul.

LANGUAGE—Names

Lesson PlanName and Identity [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 6-8. In this lesson students will: 1) appreciate the role of the name in identity; 2) become aware of the cultural variations in naming.

LANGUAGE—Numbers

Lesson PlanUsing Korean Numbers [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 6-8. In this lesson students will use Korean pronunciations to identify numbers and then perform mathematical exercises with them.

CULTURE—Festivals & Families

Video Lunar New Year, Korean-Style [Asia Society]
“Asia Society’s Yvonne Kim acts as a guide to a happy and peaceful Lunar New Year, centered around family, good food, and Korean traditions.”

Lesson PlanFamily Celebrations: A Comparison of Korean and American Cultures [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades K-6. In this lesson students will: 1) identify holidays and describe ways they celebrate them with their families; 2) identify special celebrations in the Korean culture and describe the activities of the families on those occasions; 3) complete a Venn diagram that lists unique and common family celebrations in Korea and the United States.

Lesson PlanKorean Lifestyles [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 4-6. In this lesson students will: 1) identify traditional aspects of Korean food, clothing, dance and houses; and 2) evaluate the extent to which Koreans maintain cultural traditions in today’s modern society.

CULTURE—P'ungsu (Fengshui)

Landscapes of Korea and the P’ungsu Model [East Rock Institute]
The Korean adaptation of fengshui is illustrated at this interactive, self-instructing site through the use of images and terminology (Korean) related to community sites and planning. Includes a “Student Activities” section.

CULTURE—Religion

Lesson Plan Korean Pagodas [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades K-3. In this lesson students will 1) demonstrate visual and verbal recognition of the pagoda form; 2) introduce the basic meaning, parts, and materials used in pagodas; and 3) create a drawing and/or sculpture of a pagoda.

HISTORY—History Through Art

Arts of Korea [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
This online exhibition “explores Korea’s distinctive cultural identity and the ways in which the arts of Korea have been affected by trade and diplomacy, by war and peace, and by religion and philosophy.” With separate sections on ceramics, metalwork and decorative arts, Buddhist sculpture, and painting.

The Arts of Korea: A Resource for Educators [PDF] [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
“This publication introduces Korea’s artistic achievement and places it in the context of its history and religions. Works from the Museum’s permanent collection form the core of the discussion and are used to illustrate the diversity and beauty of Korean art. These include Buddhist paintings, celadon wares and white porcelain vessels, inlaid lacquerwares, and traditional musical instruments. The boxed set also provides useful teaching tools for the classroom, including maps, an illustrated timeline, a chronology, a glossary, lesson plans, questioning strategies, cross-cultural comparisons, and two large posters. In addition, there are bibliographies for educators and students as well as lists of relevant Web sites, cultural resources, and film and video resources.”

Learning from Asian Art: Korea [Philadelphia Museum of Art]
“This online resource introduces students to Korean art and culture as they explore works in the Museum’s collection. Each art image is accompanied by background information, a set of looking questions, and related classroom activity suggestions that students can use individually, in small groups, or as a whole class. A map, timeline, and a list of recommended print resources and websites are also included.”

Korean Historical Periods [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
“Cultures with long histories—like many in Asia—can be difficult to grasp. This guide to Korea’s historical periods describes its major eras in terms of artistic production and significant political developments.”

 

See the Art section for more art-related units that can be used to teach history.

SCIENCE & MATH—Numbers

Lesson PlanUsing Korean Numbers [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 6-8. In this lesson students will use Korean pronunciations to identify numbers and then perform mathematical exercises with them.

LITERATURE—Proverbs

Lesson Plan Korean Proverbs [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 4-6. In this lesson students will 1) analyze Korean proverbs and discuss their meaning; 2) compare a Korean proverb to its Western counterpart; and 3) rewrite a Western proverb to reflect Korean culture.

LITERATURE—Folktakes

Lesson Plan Tale of Hungbu and Nolbu [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 4-6. In this lesson students will read this Korean folktale and 1) retell the tale in their own words; 2) understand family relationships that apply to Korean tradition; and 3) identify and discuss this tale’s lesson or moral.

ARTS & CRAFTS—Overviews

Arts of Korea [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
This online exhibition “explores Korea’s distinctive cultural identity and the ways in which the arts of Korea have been affected by trade and diplomacy, by war and peace, and by religion and philosophy.” With separate sections on ceramics, metalwork and decorative arts, Buddhist sculpture, and painting.

The Arts of Korea: A Resource for Educators [PDF] [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
“This publication introduces Korea’s artistic achievement and places it in the context of its history and religions. Works from the Museum’s permanent collection form the core of the discussion and are used to illustrate the diversity and beauty of Korean art. These include Buddhist paintings, celadon wares and white porcelain vessels, inlaid lacquerwares, and traditional musical instruments. The boxed set also provides useful teaching tools for the classroom, including maps, an illustrated timeline, a chronology, a glossary, lesson plans, questioning strategies, cross-cultural comparisons, and two large posters. In addition, there are bibliographies for educators and students as well as lists of relevant Web sites, cultural resources, and film and video resources.”

Learning from Asian Art: Korea [Philadelphia Museum of Art]
“This online resource introduces students to Korean art and culture as they explore works in the Museum’s collection. Each art image is accompanied by background information, a set of looking questions, and related classroom activity suggestions that students can use individually, in small groups, or as a whole class. A map, timeline, and a list of recommended print resources and websites are also included.”

Korean Historical Periods [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
“Cultures with long histories—like many in Asia—can be difficult to grasp. This guide to Korea’s historical periods describes its major eras in terms of artistic production and significant political developments.”

ARTS & CRAFTS—Ceramics

Discover a Korean Dragon [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
“It is big, fierce, and made of clay. Do you know why?” This short unit uses a ceramic tile from the early 7th century to show students how to “read” an image.

What Color Is Celadon? [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
“The technical skill and artistic mastery of Korean potters have been praised for centuries. In this feature you can explore a sampling of Korean ceramics by looking, reading, and answering questions.”

ARTS & CRAFTS—Art & Society

Yangban: The Cultural Life of the Joseon Literati [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
An extensive discussion of the yangban, the scholar-official class of Joseon Korea. The Joseon yangban were Confucians, and they considered themselves to be “custodians of proper Confucian mores” in Korean society.

DRAMA & MUSIC—Masks & Dance

Korean Masks [Hahoe Mask Museum]
A guide to traditional Korean masks, with images of more than 125 different masks. With links at the top of the page to other essays about Hahoe and Byungsan masks.

Lesson Plan Masks and Mask Dances: Local Folk Dance of Hahoe in North Kyongsang Province [PDF] [The Korea Society]
For grades 4-6. In this lesson students will 1) use a variety of world and local maps to identify and locate sites relevant to this lesson; 2) understand the historical significance of masks and mask dances in Korean village life; 3) understand the meaning of social satire and read social satire and apply it to modern American society; and 4) develop an understanding of and respect for cultural difference through the interpretation of traditional practices.

DRAMA & MUSIC—Music

What Is Poongmul? [Korean Cultural Outreach Network]
Introduction to poongmul (or p’ungmul) nori and its instruments.

Kim Duk-soo, Samulnori Master of 27 Years [Korean Broadcasting System]
An overview of the samulnori tradition through the discussion of the life and career of a samulnori master musician.

Credits

Copyright © Columbia University Asia for Educators