2012-04-12 / Living
A World Celebration
UM-Flint program promotes cultural awareness
Held on March 27, World Fest is a program developed by UM-Flint’s Department of Economics to encourage cultural awareness in children at a young age by setting aside a day for international education. Each year about 350-400 elementary students participate in the event with the fourth- and fifthgraders conducting research projects to add educational value to the day.
Throughout the day then, students are allowed to take part in a number of different activities such as Hall of Nations — where students go on a scavenger hunt with their “passports” to visit displays on various countries and obtain needed information on each country. In addition to the Hall of Nations, student are also given access to a large Earth dome that displays satellite images from around the world.
Perry Center teacher Vickie Weiss said she has found the program to be very helpful over the years her students have participated.
“We used to do something similar to this for Geography Awareness Week, but have been going to World Fest for the last two years,” Weiss said. “A lot of Grand Blanc kids participate in World Fest and it really is a great program to get the kids interested in economics.”
Prior to attending World Fest, Weiss said each of her 32 fourthgraders selected a country of their choice to research. During their research, the students were to report on the country’s economics, geography, culture and traditions and its politics.
“The projects have always been wonderful,” Weiss said. “I think the students really gain an understanding of how they impact the world through their own research and seeing the research fellow classmates have done.”
I think the students really gain an understanding of how they impact the world...”
— Vickie Weiss
Tripp, who picked to do her project on Haiti, said she really enjoyed the research project.
“Haiti has been on the news a lot I noticed and I just thought it would be cool to do research on it,” Tripp said. “I learned more than I thought.”
Likewise, Tripp’s classmate Marco Serna said his project on Costa Rica intrigued him from the very beginning.
“My mom’s friend is from Costa Rica and I really wanted to learn more about it,” Serna said. “The fact that they have no army or military really interested me.”
While Weiss’ fourth-graders prepared projects on different countries, she said her third-graders were assigned research projects on land forms.
With some picking the Great Lakes and others choosing volcanoes, Weiss said the land forms project is a great way for the third grade students to get an idea of what they will need to do for World Fest the following year.
“UM-Flint and Paula Nas have been doing World Fest for a lot of years and so will we,” Weiss said. “There is so much to get out of it and it is really something to see.”
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