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Cultural Differences in the United Kingdom & Ireland

1. Discuss the physical features of the United Kingdom and Ireland and students’ impressions of language and religion in those countries.

Project the maps Physical Map of Europe and Country Borders in Europe for students, or overlay the two map transparencies if available. Ask students to find the United Kingdom and Ireland. Have students discuss, as a class, the physical features of the two islands. Ask: Do you expect that an island would only contain one country? Why or why not? What might cause an island to split into several countries? Next, ask students to think about the languages and religions they learned about in Lesson 6: Languages and Religions of Europe. Ask: Were the United Kingdom and Ireland identified as possible trouble spots during that lesson? What are your impressions of language and religion in the United Kingdom and Ireland? Explain.

2. Have partners read a passage.

Divide students into pairs. Distribute a copy of the handout Languages and Religions of The U.K. and Ireland to each pair. Read aloud the passage a first time as students follow along, pointing out any difficult pronunciations. Then have students re-read the passage with their partners.

3. Have partners use the reading and maps to complete the worksheet.

Distribute a copy of the following to each pair: worksheet Mapping Languages and Religions of the U.K. and Ireland; map The United Kingdom and Ireland; map Dominant Languages in the United Kingdom and Ireland; and map Dominant Religions in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Have students work together to complete Part 1 of the worksheet on their maps. Rotate around the room and provide support, as needed. As a class, share and discuss students’ completed maps.

4. Have small groups examine languages and religions of the U.K. and Ireland.

Combine pairs to form four small groups. Assign each group only one of the questions in Part 2 of the worksheet. Tell students that they will present their answers to Part 2 in the next activity. Provide students with ample time to discuss and write the answer to their assigned question. Encourage them to identify parts of the reading or maps they used to answer their question and to prepare for questioning by their classmates.

Informal Assessment

Check for student understanding by observing their whole-class, partner, and small-group discussion contributions, and checking their answers to Part 1 of the worksheet.

Extending the Learning

Emphasize to students that it often takes a very long time for change to take place regarding conflicts over language or religion in any part of the world. Have students do additional research on the religious and language conflicts in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Encourage students to find newspaper articles or web pages that describe the troubles in northern Ireland and how the different groups worked together to resolve the conflict.

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