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Geography - Classroom nations unite

What the lesson is about

Announcing to my Year 6 (P6) class that they were to create a new country from scratch met with little enthusiasm. But once I explained that they would have total control of what went on there, they showed decidedly more interest, writes Chris Fenton.

We began to identify countries around the world and what gave them their identity: food, flags, anthems, exports, governments and religions. We learned how climate played a large part in defining trade opportunities and started to build our national identities.

The class was split into departments of trade, the environment, education, justice and tourism, and each set about developing manifestos, promoting the country or developing its legal and social systems.

The result was magnificent. The class began to think and work like a team.

After four weeks, we met our neighbouring country (the other Year 6 class). My pupils had opted for a tropical environment, so our principal export was tropical fruits. Our counterparts had opted for a European environment and offered potatoes and root vegetables. We agreed to trade sack for sack and an economic environment was born.

At the end of the project, we discussed our learning as a year group. The pupils' passion was palpable. They had elected leaders, built systems of social care, composed national anthems and shaken hands with those from the "other country" in a declaration of unity.

What else?

Teach pupils about the EU countries with jmjbayley's "EU Catchphrase!" game. Or get them to create a European flag wheel with victoriabennett's lesson.

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