We’re Off to India!

A Curriculum Unit for 3rd and 4th Grade Students
By Virginia vonReichbauer

Established Goals
To introduce young children to the geography, landmarks, literature, languages, celebrations, schools, arts and daily life of India

New Jersey Curriculum Content Standards:

Civics: International Education: Global Challenges, Cultures, and Connections
1. Identify traditions and celebrations of various cultures
2. Participate in activities such as dance, song, and games that represent various cultures.

Geography: The World in Spatial Terms
1. Explain the spatial concepts of location, distance and direction
2. The location of continents and oceans
3. Explain that the globe is a model of the earth and maps are representations of local and distant places.
4. Demonstrate basic globe and map skills.

Geography: Places and Regions
1. Describe the physical and human characteristics of places.
Civics: International Education: Global Challenges, Cultures, and Connections
2. Explain that the world is divided into many nations consisting of territory and people, with their own government, languages, customs, and laws.
3. Identify aspects of culture and heritage presented in literature, art, music, sport, or the media.
4. Examine common and diverse traits of other cultures and compare to their own culture.

Students will know:

  • India’s geographical location
  • Some school routines in India
  • One major Indian holiday and how it is celebrated
  • The location and importance of the Taj Mahal
  • At least one story based on Indian themes
  • At least one artistic expressions of Indian culture
  • Common expressions in Hindi and Punjabi
  • Common Indian crafts and artistic products
  • That a passport and visa are necessary for travel to India

Students will be able to:

  • Identify India on a map and name bordering countries and bodies of water
  • Describe how an honored guest is greeted in India
  • Identify cultural artifacts of daily life in India and compare and contrast them with items in the U.S.
  • Compare and contrast school routines in India and the U.S.
  • State what they have learned about India and keep a journal of their reflections
  • Write their own names in Hindi
  • Do some Yoga exercises
  • Use common expressions of greetings and courtesy and count to ten in Hindi and Punjabi
  • Discuss Indian family life
  • Illustrate and/or tell a story in scroll form
  • Identify the Taj Mahal and relate at least five interesting facts about the monument
  • Plan a celebration of Divali based on culturally appropriate traditions and crafts
  • Identify a variety of Indian craft objects, compare them to similar U.S. products, and tell their use
  • Play and follow the rules of a board game of Indian origin
  • Identify an artistic performance expression of Indian culture and participate in at least one: song, dance, scroll painting or puppetry


Students will understand that:

  • Culture is a unique expression of a people’s history and experience;
  • Cultures which appear quite different may have many similarities;
  • Culture is transmitted through the arts and literature of a country, as well as through its institutions and daily life.

Essential Questions

What is life like in India?
How is life in India similar to or different from life in the United States?

Performance Tasks

Students will:

  • Keep a journal of their personal reflections throughout the unit
  • Make a class map of India and identify political and geographical areas
  • Compare and contrast various elements of Indian and U.S. cultures
  • Write a short original story or poem describing an Indian scroll painting
  • Identify artifacts of daily life in India
  • Write their own names in Hindi
  • Use a few common Hindi expressions in appropriate contexts
  • Create typical Divali crafts
  • Describe several Divali traditions
  • Prepare and present a morning assembly based on an Indian school model
  • Discuss similarities and differences between schools in the U.S. and India

Download Associated Files
Please right-click and choose “Save As…”

We’re Off to India! Lesson Plan in Microsoft Word Format
We’re Off to India! Powerpoint
Hindi & Pujabi w Gagan Quicktime Movie
Morning Assembly Varanasi Alice Project Quicktime Movie
Patua Scroll singing Fish Marriage Quicktime Movie
Rangoli Chennai Children’s Garden School Quicktime Movie