Grade Level: 9 - 12
This lesson is from a curriculum guide entitled, A South Asia Curriculum, Teaching about
India, which was developed by Hazel Sara Greenberg of The American Forum for Global
Education. Due to copyright laws, not all the excerpts which were cited in the original printed
version of the unit could be uploaded to the Internet. All the resources are cited, but are not
actually included here. Where permission was granted to do so, we have included the material.
One can easily obtain the cited material, but if the complete guide with all excerpts is desired, it
may be purchased from the American Forum. A full description of the guide can be accessed
from our Publication Catalog.
To understand India it is important to understand its dependence on water. The monsoon rains are always associated with South Asia although they are a world-wide phenomenon. However, it is important to remember that New Delhi, the capital of India, gets the same annual rainfall as New York City. The issue is not the amount of rain but the distribution of rainfall annually. Whereas New York gets fairly equal rainfall, allowing for normal activities throughout the year, India 's rainfall is largely during three months of the year, skewing all events and activities to gravitate around the rains. If the monsoons do not arrive in India, the nation mourns for the entire year; if the monsoon is too heavy, floods and crop loss mark the following year. Just as the success or failure of agriculture is dependent upon the monsoons, the culture of South Asia is dependent upon the rains.
The purpose of this lesson is to help students see the overriding significance of the monsoon and the impact of the rains upon all facets of life in South Asia. In order to allow students to examine the issue from many points of view, we strongly suggest using the material in a cooperative learning lesson.
The Map Study, The Path of the Monsoon through India. Included here.
Chasing the Monsoon: A Modern Pilgrimage through India, Alexander Frater, New York: Alfred Knopf, Inc., 1992. Select excerpts that address the following themes: (1)What is a Monsoon? pages 26-32; (2) Keeping "Data" on the Monsoon, pages 26-32; (3) What to do During a Monsoon, pages 45-50; (4) The Monsoon and Deforestation, pages 63-65; (5) The Monsoon: Music and Poetry, pages 155-156.
Readings from "The Rains of Estrangement," in Contributions to Indian Sociology, Dr. Susan Wadley, 1983, Vol, 17. (6)Heat and Crops - The Cycle of the Seasons, pages 61-63; (7) The Twelve Months of the Very Young Husband, pages 78-82. Included here.
In our society there are many songs which refer to rain and people's feelings about rain - "Singing in the Rain," "Stormy Weather," "Let a Smile be Your Umbrella." What are some of the attitudes we in the West have about rain? Do you agree or disagree with these attitudes? How do you feel when it rains?
|1. What Is a Monsoon?|
|2. Keeping "Data" on the Monsoon|
|3. Monsoons and Deforestation|
|4. Heat and Crops|
|5. What "To Do" in a Monsoon|
|6. Music and poetry|
At the beginning of the lesson we talked about how we feel when it rains. We all have different attitudes about the rain during different times of the year.
This lesson is rather long and there are many varied points of view. The material is as accessible if students use fewer worksheets or are assigned some of the worksheets as homework assignments.
The language arts teacher, working with the social studies teacher, might find the worksheets
useful as a discussion point for different writing styles. Students would then use this lesson as a
motivation for their own writing exercises.
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