Rice and Spice
LESSON 1: Introduction to rice cultures: How significant is rice in the cultures of Southeast Asia?
This lesson plan introduces students to the history of rice cultures that includes discussion of early domestication of rice and adaptation of cultivation methods to the varied topography of Southeast Asia. In examining rice production systems, students will also learn about social organization, agrarian cultures and economies, gendered division of labor, and material cultures (e.g., architecture) of different Southeast Asian communities.
|Subject||History / Social Studies|
|Topic||Introduction to Rice Cultures: How significant is rice in the cultures of Southeast Asia?|
|Key idea||Rice is central to Southeast Asian food cultures, social relations, village organization, and belief systems.|
|Key concepts||Domestication of rice
Division of labour
Adaptation to topography
|No. of periods / lessons||1 period, or 2 periods if the recommended video is screened (1 period is approximately 50 minutes)|
|Facilities needed||A/V equipment and Internet access to play the video clips (or hard copy with similar content)
Sources and handouts for distribution
|Prerequisite knowledge||No prerequisite knowledge is required.|
By the end of the lesson, the students will be able to:
Download the lesson plan for details on the talks and activities suggested below.
1. Teacher greeting
Children become aware about the many greetings related to rice in the region.
2. Teacher talk
Using Source 2, the teacher explains how we can also observe how important rice is in Southeast Asian culture by the sayings and proverbs associated with rice.
3. Pair work
In pair, students read various sayings linked to rice and try to infer what they mean.
4. Video: One Day in the Life of a Rice Farmer
Students get exposed to a day in the life of a rice farmer in M’lang (the South of the Philippines) and reflect on the process of rice production.
A film by Alexander Baumgartner (35 minutes):
Note: Watching this video is optional, if the lesson can be conducted over 2 periods. Alternatively, students can watch it as part of preparation.
5. Cloze (gap-fill) activity
Students learn vocabulary on the rice cultivation cycle.
6. Teacher talk
This lecture explain the conditions suitable for rice cultivation. It highlights that the process of rice planting is very laborious and needs the cooperation and coordination of a community.
Students study sources and conclude how laborious the process of rice cultivation is and how it requires the collaboration and ingenuity of a whole community.
Students read a short article from a writer and debate in class if they agree or not with her statement.
Suggested home extension activities
- Students find more saying related to rice by interviewing their family members.
- Students find more information about rice by interviewing family members, neighbors or by undertaking online research.