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By Christine Jenkinseducation writer

Use the landmarks, people and traditions of the USA as a focus for a variety of cross-curricular activities – a ‘land of opportunities’ for firing children’s imagination.

Stars and stripes

Where in America?

American landmarks

  • Ask pupils what words and images come to mind when think of America. Use a globe to show the location of the USA compared with the UK. Tell pupils that they are going to be learning more about the world’s third largest country.
  • Give pupils the Activity sheet , ‘American landmarks’. In pairs, they should match the landmarks and definitions, and find the location of each to record on their map. Can they think of any other famous American landmarks? What else can they find out about them? KS2 pupils could use Google maps to view satellite or Street View images of the landmarks, or this could be done as a whole class with KS1 pupils.
  • The landmarks can be used as inspiration for an array of different activities. For example, pupils could choose a landmark and sculpt it using found objects, make a poster with ‘Did You Know’ facts about it, or create a brochure encouraging tourists to visit it.

Famous Americans

  • Ask pupils if they can name any famous Americans. What are they famous for?
  • Split the class into five teams and allocate each team a famous American (for example, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart, Steven Spielberg).
  • Tell the teams that they are going to put together a three-minute pageant about their person. A pageant is an American tradition and is a dramatisation of an historical event. Give teams time to research their person online or in books. They should choose a particular achievement or event in the person’s life and devise their mini-pageant to present to the class.
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