Saturday, April 20, 2013

Geography Fair 2013

We had our annual Geography Fair last night. I posted about this even last year here. It's a big deal in our house because my kids just love it and I've become the organizer for this event, so it keeps me busy for a while each Spring! 
It is an event where families (or individual kids) can choose a country to study, study whatever they want about it, and share what they have learned in the form of a table display. Tri-fold displays are common as are various building and map creations, videos, art work, costumes... whatever their creativity leads them too. People also bring ethnic foods, which I think is probably the favorite thing with the kids. 

This year, my daughter chose to do South Korea. Since she wanted to do an international theme for her birthday party, we combined some of the work and used some things for both. For instance, she wanted me to make a Korean hanbock for her to wear. I did manage it (a victory for this non-sewer!!) and she happily wore it to both events. She tends to be very hung-ho about these things, so she got to work and had her display done a month in advance.

My son has a little more trouble with these things. He's not very motivated, and even if he comes up with ideas, he has trouble implementing them without a great deal of help and direction from me. He chose to do Liechtenstein this year. It was hard finding a great deal of information on such a tiny country, but in the end I think he had a decent display and learned a few things. The whole point of this, of course, is to learn some stuff and try to have fun in the process. Sharing it with others is also a valuable skill.

The hardest part for me was helping them implement their ethnic food choices. My daughter chose to make Chapssalddeok, which is a Korean version of Japanese mochi. Is it sweet rice flour balls stuffed with red bean paste. This seemed like a pretty good choice, but it look us a day and a half to make, and that was after soaking and cooking the beans ahead of time for two days. The bean mush had to be ground up and cooked down on the stove, and then the rice flour needed to be steamed. This took us several tries to get it right. In the end, they weren't bad, but I don't think I'll be doing that again soon!

For Liechtenstein, we decided to make Käsknöpfle, which is kind of like Liechtensteiner mac and cheese. Simple, right? Well, we got started pretty easily, but not having the proper tools for noodle making, I spent the next two hours trying to force really rubbery dough through a grater into boiling water. Needless to say my arms were sore and my hand was well steamed by the time I was done! I wouldn't let Noah do it because he didn't have the strength and I didn't want him to get burnt.

It was a lot of work, but it turned out to be a great event I think! There were a great many wonderful displays and I am always amazed by the creativity and energy of the kids and families that take part. We had a quiz of questions, one from each display. Kids who wanted a prize had to go around and try to answer questions. In this way they were given an extra incentive to really look at the information presented and maybe learn something new. Smaller kids were given the option to collect stamps in a "passport" booklet for a prize. One dad suggested that I do a map next year instead of the Passport and let the little kids put their stamps on the map. That seemed like a great idea, and I may do just that!

Here are a few pictures from the event... (some people chose to be outside the box with particular places and things).

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