End-Of-The-Year Project (recommended for 2nd and 3rd grade)

This project is suitable for an end-of-the-year class activity!

    We think it is perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade engaging interdisciplinary project!

Kids learn to work in teams, learn lots of new things about the world we live in and as a result they enjoy their collective effort for it is something phisical they can actually touch.

When we did it in our classroom we got a lot of phone calls from excited parents telling us that their child wanted to make exactly the same model at home for the family.

It is an idea of how to spend some quality time with your child doing something educational and fun!

We named the project “Intercultural Communication”. It is a model of a map that represents the Silk Road and the Columbian Exchange.

It gives an idea of the numerous advantages of intercultural communication.  

What can you expect your child to learn?

This project is an opportunity for you and your child to take a look at distant places, different cultures and exotic languages.

Children learn that having more and more contact with people who are culturally different could be beneficial to everyone.

Intercultural Communication class project teaches:

  • Geography – maps, map key, compass, borders, continents, the world is round and most importantly how exciting it is to explore the unknown

  • Art – working with different materials including modeling paste

  • English – in English we talked about the products people exchanged and named them in different languages including Spanish, Italian, German and Russian

  • History – Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, the culture and traditions of  – Native Americans, Europeans and Asians

Accompany your stories with lots of colourful and interesting photos available on the Internet! Kids love seeing exotic to them places and objects!

Talk about each of these products and how they changed people’s everyday lives!

What are the materials you will need?

  • large, flat cardboard box on which using modeling paste you need to trace the continental borders 

  • paints – blue, brown and orange (preferably acrylic paint)

  • colored paper (blue) for the ripples in the ocean surface

  • modeling paste for the borders of the continents 

  • small stones to colour in order to represent gem stones

  • different spices (we used black pepper, cloves, cumin, turmeric and paprika)

  • two different colored ribbons in order to use as arrows on the map showing the Silk Road and the Columbian Exchange (we used blue and purple)

  • coffee beans

  • some rice grains

  • a couple of peanuts

  • cotton

  • sugar (white and brown)

  • a paper cocktail umbrella 

  • styrofoam

  • silver and gold tinfoil

  • small piece of silk fabric

  • some real sand

This is what you need to do in pictures!

  • cover the cardboard box in white paper

  • trace the borders of the continents using modeling paste (you might need to pour some transparent liquid glue over them)

  • color the water in blue, the land in orange and in case your modeling paste is white, color it in brown. We used acrylic paint.

  • cut out arrows from the ribbons and place them on the model showing the directions of the Columbian Exchange and the Silk Road

  • creat a map key using a small stripe of each ribbon and write what their color represents

  • draw a compass in the middle of the model. Here is a picture you might want to copy from 


  • place the styrofoam in North America and Asia to represent the cold weather

  • place the already colored small stones (precious stones) on the Arabian peninsula

  • place the spices on the Indian peninsula

  • place the paper umbrella somewhere China

  • place the rice grains somewhere in China

  • place the small piece of silk fabric in Asia

  • we put some little drawing of bamboo and camel caravans too

  • In Europe we placed some pictures the kids drew of horses, olive oil, vineyards, cows and pigs

  • In the African continent we placed a piece of wrinkled silver tinfoil (standing for silver) and gold tinfoil (standing for gold)

  • we placed some real sand in the place of Sahara desert

  • then we placed some coffee beans and pictures of African villages and baobab trees we drew in pencils


  • in North America we places some cotton

  • peanuts

  • cherry tomatoes

  • drawing of the Niagara Falls


  • In South America we places a little box which later we filled with some grass that represents the Amazon rainforest

  • we places some more peanuts 

  • a cherry tomato

  • white and brown sugar

  • the Australian continent was not explore at that time so we left it like this with a simple label “unexplored”

In addition we decided to make a small paper boat with sailing masts to represent Santa Maria (one of the Columbus’s ships)

The tall sugar tower was placed there to remind children of the story about the Tower of Babel (which we talked about in class)

  • once you place everything mentioned on the model you can glue some blue paper stripes for waves and ripples 

We hope you like the result of our collective effort!

 We would be happy to see your model! 

Let us know if you found this activity fun and educational!




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