One of the primary goals of the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) is to introduce K-12 students and educators to the languages and cultures of the Central Eurasian region. From classroom visits to virtual training programs, the graduate assistants at IAUNRC have spent the past semester engaging with teachers and students at various institutions in the local area.
In early October, IAUNRC graduate assistants visited seventh grade social studies classes at Edgewood Junior High School in Ellettsville, Indiana. Having learned about the Mongol Empire and the Silk Road as part of their social studies curriculum, Edgewood students were excited to learn more about the geography and material cultures of the regions and peoples they had studied. Students had the opportunity to help build a model ger (yurt), try on traditional Mongolian clothing, play fortune-telling games with sheep anklebones, and learn more about the geographical features of Central Eurasia.
[Image description: Mike Krautkramer (left) shows graduate assistants Casey Edgarian, Anton Ermakov, Stu McLaughlin, and Ben Storsved how to assemble the model yurt in preparation for visiting Edgewood Junior High]
In mid-November, IAUNRC graduate assistants visited The Project School in Bloomington with other HLS centers for International Night. Students and parents learned about traditional Kyrgyz felt making and cut traditional patterns out of construction paper to decorate magnets and greeting cards. As always, IAUNRC graduate assistants were happy to share their knowledge of the region with curious parents and students alike.
[Image description: graduate assistants Casey Edgarian and Ben Storsved share traditional Kyrgyz felt patterns with students and parents at The Project School]
The IAUNRC also worked with other HLS Centers and the IU School of Education to give presentations to Indiana social studies teachers as part of an ongoing Global Education Initiatives workshop series. These presentations provide teachers with resources and ideas for how to incorporate international content into Indiana’s standards for Geography and History of the World. The selected topic for this year’s workshops was “Sports, Leisure, and Tourism.” IAUNRC GAs developed a presentation which discussed traditional and contemporary sports in Central and Inner Asia, which covered topics ranging from archeological evidence of wrestling near Lake Baikal to Central Asians competing in the Olympics. Teachers were particularly interested in learning about the World Nomad Games and skateboarding in modern Central Asia. In total, IAUNRC GAs presented at two in-person workshops and four online webinars, where they were able to introduce these materials to dozens of local social studies teachers.
The IAUNRC is proud to share the languages and cultures of the Central Eurasian region with K-12 students and educators, and we look forward to working with schools in Indiana and beyond in the future.