Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
For Educators

Activity 1:

USA in Three Words

Explore diverse perspectives of the United States.

Show students the approximately two-minute video clip, USA in Three Words. Explain that the people in the video live in foreign countries. Ask students to choose their own three words that they think best describe the United States and explain their rationale. How do student word choices reflect their backgrounds, interests, and hopes for the future?

Ask students to then ask a parent, grandparent (or another person from the same generation), and a third person of their choosing how they would describe America in three words and why. Have students capture the perspectives of these individuals on audio or video, or create some type of visual display showcasing the points of view they've collected. Students should also write an essay that compares and contrasts their own word choices and reasoning with those that they interviewed. Showcase the student work at school and/or online and invite feedback.

Finally, have students contribute the descriptors they've gathered to the USA in Three Words interactive feature.

Additional Resources

How They See Us
Watch slightly extended versions of the interviews excerpted for the "USA in Three Words" video, featuring perspectives from Venezuela, Lebanon, and South Africa. Each video is less than six minutes long.

Ideology, Language, and Labels
Robin Koerner comments on American practices of labeling political ideology.

Related Standards

Civics, Standard 11: Understands the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society.

Geography, Standard 10: Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.

Source: "Content Knowledge" by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning)

Top

ACTIVITIES:

< 1. USA in Three Words
Explore diverse perspectives of the United States
  2. The Internet's Impact on Political Participation
Investigate how Internet features and culture make political waves.
  3. A Slogan That Captures America's Best Identity
Explore the idea of "place branding" and develop a slogan that captures America's best identity.
  4. American Image Abroad
Develop strategies for improving world opinion of the United States.
  5. Cross-country Rhythms
Explore the relationship between music, history, and culture.
  6. Patriotism and American Identity
Explore the concepts of "patriotism" and "American identity."
Download all activities as a PDF file (128KB, Acrobat Reader required)

American ID Home  |  Freedom  |  Democracy  |  Choice  |  Border Talk  |  For Educators  |  Resources  |  Credits  |  Site Map
POV's Borders: Home  |  About POV's Borders  |  Contact Us
POV: Home  |  About POV  |  POV Pressroom  |  POV Projects  |  Newsletter  |  About American Documentary
Copyright ©2006 American Documentary, Inc.