1. Have students use the jigsaw cooperative learning strategy to discuss their case studies.
Have students regroup in their small groups from Lesson 8, Activity 1 and make sure they have their completed worksheets from that activity. Remind students they are in their "expert" groups. They have studied one case study in depth. Regroup students so that each new group of four has at least one member from each expert group. Have each expert in a group report on their case study. Other students learn from the experts and complete their worksheets.
2. Have groups present their findings.
Have each group present their case study to the class by reading aloud the scenario and explaining the answers they arrived at while conducting their research.
3. Make generalizations about the impacts of cultural features on country borders.
Hold a whole-class discussion about cultural features and their impact on country borders using the questions below as prompts. Encourage students to cite their research projects or other specific examples to support their answers.
- What comes first, the cultural feature such as language or religion, or the border?
- How do borders cause cultural divides, and how do cultural divides define borders?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks to countries that have a mix of cultural features within their borders?
- With increasing human migration and movement between countries, will borders shift to accommodate cultural groups? Why or why not?
Check for student understanding by observing their presentations and jigsaw and whole-class discussion contributions. Evaluate how well students are able to integrate small-group research findings into the whole-class discussion.
Extending the Learning
Have students research cultural features in their own region or state and present their findings. Provide students with the following questions to research: What cultural groups are important in your area? How do the groups impact state, city, and other borders? Have there been conflicts around those borders?
Subjects & Disciplines
- consider how cultural features can affect country borders
- develop generalizations about the impacts of cultural features on borders
- Cooperative learning
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards
National Geography Standards
- Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information
- Standard 10: The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics
- Standard 13: How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface
- Standard 4: The physical and human characteristics of places
What You’ll Need
Materials You Provide
- Lesson 8, Activity 1 completed worksheets
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Large-group instruction
The Roma are a traditionally nomadic ethnic group who originated in northern India. The total global population of Roma is estimated between two to five million. They have held a presence in Europe for an estimated 1,000 years. Today, most Roma continue to live principally in Europe, particularly in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania.
The Basque ethnic group of southern Europe straddles both Spain and France in an area known as Basque Country. This region borders the Bay of Biscay and is located near the western end of the Pyrenees Mountains. Although their origins are unknown, Basques are characterized by their shared language and culture. The Basques are distinct from most European groups because the Basque language is not Indo-European.
Moldova is a country located in the northeastern corner of the Balkan region of Europe. It is bounded by Ukraine to the north, east, and south and by Romania to the west. The former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) combined many unique cultures under one governing system. Once the country was set up, Russians moved to every area of the U.S.S.R., which created tensions between Russians and other ethnic groups when independence was achieved. Moldova became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and a member of the United Nations in 1992.
The island of Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey, west of Syria, and southeast of mainland Greece. Cyprus has a long history with both Turkey and Greece. In 1960, Cyprus gained its independence from Britain, and there has been a struggle between the Turkish and Greek peoples that has lasted to the present day. Although Cyprus was recently admitted to the European Union (EU), the political division of the island prevents northern Cyprus from receiving the same level of EU benefits as the rest of the island.
Recommended Prior Activities
natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.
a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.
geographic territory with a distinct name, flag, population, boundaries, and government.
learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.
people sharing genetic characteristics, culture, language, religion or history.
the movement of people from one place to another.
set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.
a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.
- NG MapMaker 1-Page Map: Europe
- National Geographic Education: Europe MapMaker Kit
- NG MapMaker Interactive: Europe