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First impressions about Japan - PreAssessment activity

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Cultures +2 Age Level Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

This collection serves as a pre-assessment activity to a unit on Edo Japan. The artwork in the module is heavily influenced by the Edo period. The goal of this short lesson is to activate imagery and ideas of Japanese art during the Edo period. 


Lesson plan (<1 hour)

Complete *ONE of the following activities:

1. Use the resource "One Step, First Step, Apple Computer, Osaka, Japan" to lead a "Think/Puzzle/Explore" routine. 

2. Use all four resources of the Japan Railway Company to complete a "See/Think/Wonder" visible thinking routine. 

3. Use either "How Japan Does It" or "MacDonald's Hamburgers Invading Japan/Tokyo Ginza Shuffle" to lead the "3-2-1 Bridge" visible thinking routine. 


*For all three routines: 

As you complete the routine, evaluate how much students already know about Japan and the lexicon that they use. Highlight key concepts written in the routine's poster. What do students know and how do these artifacts corroborate or oppose their initial ideas of Japan? Can students discern the historical nature behind some of these ads and posters? For instance, the railway ad displays a screen, and the poster for ‘How Japan Does It’ has a heavy ukiyo-e influence. In this way, these examples of commercial art tie in lasting impressions of a culture with contemporary takes on the country in a fun way. 

These three routines could also be completed in unison. Divide the class in smaller groups, provide each group with the images of the collection, and guide each group through one of the routines listed. The result as a class will be a much richer lexicon bank. 

One Step, First Step, Apple Computer, Osaka, Japan

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Think / Puzzle / Explore: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

West Japan Railway Compan

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

West Japan Railway Compan

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

See/Think/Wonder: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

How Japan Does It

National Portrait Gallery

3-2-1 Bridge: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access