This assignment encourages students to compare and understand various features of a culture. This is an activity that I do with students during our Human Geography unit. I have had students mostly focus on European nations, though in the past have used Middle Eastern nations as well. Looking at the chart provided, I have selected 10 features of a culture that are appropriate for middle school ages. There are other features of a culture on the site provided, however to keep things middle school appropriate, I find that these 10 are most useful.
Some of the features that students are researching include: eye contact, gift giving, personal space, greetings and view of time.
I usually begin this mini-unit completing the chart (again provided) applying the questions to the United States (so I make a double sided copy with the same form on each side), then when working on the internet, have the students choose another nation to research. When all is done, I have students compare in small groups, what they found. Students are generally shocked at how different other nations are to the U.S. and others.
This activity meets a number of social studies standards on culture. This activity could be expanded to meet ELA standards - through completing a written reflection or compare and contrast analysis.