November 6, 2018
The Children’s Museum of South Dakota is hosting hundreds of Brookings fifth graders for the second annual Cultural Appreciation Day. On Wednesday, students will visit with community members representing 30 different cultures. They’ll also reflect on their own cultural identities.
Carrie Benson is the Director of Education for the Children’s Museum. She says the fifth graders will learn about different cultures by visiting booths and talking with adults from around the world. They’ll also see poster presentations from younger students in Medary Elementary School’s English as a second language program.
But Benson also wants students to reflect on their own culture. One way that happens is through an exercise where students design a piece of pizza. Each topping represents a part of their identity--things like ethnicity, age, and spiritual beliefs.
“--And then the class comes together as a whole and makes one giant pizza. And you can look at all the different ‘toppings’ and then we talk about how diverse their class is.”
Benson says events like this help students engage with similarities and differences among people. She also emphasizes the need for good communication skills.
“To really get to know somebody, you have to engage in dialogue and conversation with them. So we’re really trying to drive home that value in communication and just how much power that has in getting to know people.”
Cultural Appreciation Day is a partnership with the Children’s Museum, the South Dakota World Affairs Council, South Dakota State University, and the Brookings School District.