Continuing with our Clues to a Culture unit, we are now exploring the premise that fiction and nonfiction are NOT mutually exclusive and should be read together. Along with our overarching essential question, "How does literature provide insight into a culture," our new topical essential question is, "In what ways do readers learn about a culture from fiction and nonfiction?"
Once students finished reading their novels, they embarked upon a research task. They again used the four chalk talk questions:
How do different cultures use the Earth’s resources (plants, trees, water, oil,
2) How do different cultures view animals? (pets, food, work)?
what ways does religion play a part in a culture’s beliefs and customs?
How are a culture’s customs and beliefs shown in their stories, art and music?
Students identified the main culture in their novels and research answers to the four chalk talk questions. They recorded their information in two-column notes. The main cultures researched were the pioneers, the Inuit, the Penobscot, the Ojibwe, and the Nicoleno.
Once students recorded facts found in response to each of the four questions, they gathered with their novel groups to discuss what each had found. Groups then charted two-column notes, with the left column including the fact found during research, and the right column included quotes from the text providing evidence of the fact.
After students completed their book club discussions, finding examples from the novel that matched the facts about their culture, they used these notes to create a Google presentation slideshow explaining how insight to a culture can be gained through fiction AND nonfiction. Students wrote a brief summary of their novel, displayed their fiction/nonfiction information in a table, and then wrote a response to the essential question, "How does literature provide insight into a culture?"
This is one student's slideshow with a book summary, fact vs. fiction synopsis, and response to the essential question, "How does literature provide insight to a culture?"