Diwali is a Hindu-originated festival celebrated in India between October and November. The five-day celebration — also known as the “festival of lights” — has become a national festival marked by most Indians regardless of faith, with Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs also celebrating.
The grade threes kicked off our study of India by learning about this important festival and the traditions involved in this celebration.
The Story Behind the Celebration
Being in a second language program, our students are used to looking for clues to help their understanding of Spanish. The grade threes were asked to use the same skills to interpret the story of Rama and Sita. Students were first asked to watch the video in Hindi, then discussed their understanding in English. Below is the story in English.
ASK ME ABOUT: What similarities can we find between this story and ones we are already familiar with? Does every story need to have a 'bad guy'?
Students acted out this story in groups and discussed why the characters are so important to understanding the celebration of Diwali.
ASK ME ABOUT: If each student has 2 arms, how many kids together (like the students above) would it take to show Ravana's 20 arms?
Diyas are clay lamps that decorate the homes of Indians during Diwali. They are used to light the way for Rama and Sita's return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. The light represents the triumph of good over evil.
But why clay?
Science Connection: Clay is one earliest minerals being used in India. Clays originate from rocks by weathering. In India, clay is used not only for making brick, but also utensils, household appliances, and images of Gods and Goddesses.
Geography Connection: Clay is available in the banks of many rivers, such as the Brahmaputra, the Ganga, the Godavari, the Kaveri.
A rangoli is a colourful design made on the floor near the entrance to a house to welcome guests. At Diwali, people draw bright Rangoli patterns to encourage visitors to their homes.
We explored the concept of symmetry as we drew our own rangoli patterns using a 10 x 10 square grid and a variety of mediums (pastel, paint, pencil crayon, marker, and colored salt.
ASK ME ABOUT: How many lines of symmetry did your rangoli have? What does it mean for something to symmetrical?
ASK ME ABOUT
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