UNIT

2

Early Centres of Power

LESSON 5: How did cultures mix in ancient Southeast Asia?

This lesson plan explains the spread of the Ramayana throughout Southeast Asia and introduces the concept of cultural diffusion. The students will be able to cultivate respect for, and understand the interdependence of, cultures throughout Asia and appreciate how history impacts their lives today.

Subject History / Social Studies
Topic How big were ancient polities?
Key idea The Ramayana provides a good example of cultural influence. It has spread from India throughout Southeast
Asia into many languages and locally inspired versions.
Key concepts Cultural influence
Ramayana
Level Lower secondary
No. of periods / lessons 2 periods/1 lesson (1 period is approximately 50 minutes)
Facilities needed Sources and handouts for distribution
Blank paper and coloured pencils
Prerequisite knowledge Students should gain prerequisite knowledge by completing Handout 1: Pre-reading. This could be done for homework before the activities described below, or in a prior class period.

Learning Objectives: by the end of the lesson, the students will gain…

KNOWLEDGE SKILLS ATTITUDES
  1. Describe the spread of the Ramayana throughout Southeast Asia.
  2. Explain the concept of cultural diffusion.
  1. Compare artistic representations in order to understand cultural diffusion.
  2. Observe and participate in discussions of historical sources.
  1. Cultivate respect for, and understand the interdependence of, cultures throughout Asia
  2. Appreciate how history impacts their lives today.

  Structure

Download the lesson plan for details on the talks and activities suggested below.

Pre-reading

This text introduces the story of the Ramayana and how it was adopted and it evolved throughout Southeast Asia.

1. Hook activity: Telephone game

This game helps students experience the concept of culture diffusion through the “diffusion” of a message among themselves.

2. Teacher talk

This lecture presents the example of the Ramayana and how it spread from what is now India to Southeast Asia.

3. Group Work

In groups, students compare the characters and actions in various depictions
of the Ramayana.

4. Fishbowl Discussion

A group of students is encouraged to go deeper in their analysis while other groups observe and later join the discussion.

5. Sketch

Students sketch and expose a character from the Battle of Lanka in their own way. Their drawings will show how the Ramayana is diffusing into their culture today and how they are part of the process of cultural diffusion.

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