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Daughter From Danang
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Teacher's Guide: Suggestions for Active Learning

%Daughter from Danang offers insights into topics in American history including foreign relations in Southeast Asia, the Vietnam War, the antiwar movement, the effect of war on families, immigration, adoption, cultural influences, and ethnic identity. You can use part or all of the film, or delve into the rich resources available on this Web site to learn more, either in a classroom or on your own.

The following activities are grouped into 4 categories: history, economics, geography, and culture. You can also read a few helpful hints for completing the activities.

Culture | Geography | History | Economics

1. The film ends with the breakdown of the new relationship between Heidi Bub and her Vietnamese birth mother Mai Thi Kim. Write two letters -- one from Heidi Bub to her mother, and one from Mai Thi Kim to her daughter -- in which you express what each woman might want to say to the other to try to restore that relationship. Then write a third letter, from you to both women, in which you describe your reaction to the film and offer whatever advice you have about what both women should do next.

2. Read the interview Living in Two Cultures, which raises a number of issues about cultural change and cultural influences that are relevant to Americans of all ethnic backgrounds. These issues include the ways in which cultures can differ, in issues of behavior and belief as well as language, food, etc.; the ways in which immigrants to the United States not only are shaped by American culture but also help transform that culture; the curiosity and longing many Americans feel toward the country or countries in which they or their ancestors were born; and the conflict that can exist between a person's family responsibilities and the desire to improve his or her own life. Choose an issue raised by the interview and make an oral presentation to the class on how it affects your own life. Include visuals if possible.

Culture | Geography | History | Economics

1. Review Two Hometowns. Then draw a world map and label Danang, Vietnam, where Heidi Bub was born, and Pulaski, Tennessee, where she grew up. To make your own comparison of these two cities, list on the map each city's latitude and longitude, climate, surrounding landscape, population, and major industries. For extra credit, use the Internet to figure out how a person could travel from one of these cities to the other.

2. View the photographs of postwar Vietnam in the gallery. As the photos show, the scars of the war can still be seen in Vietnam. But many other countries, including those that have suffered much less conflict-related damage than Vietnam, are as poor as Vietnam, or even poorer.

Review a recent ranking of the world's countries in terms of their Gross Domestic Product per person. Divide up the 143 countries that are listed so that each class member has roughly the same number of countries. Then, on a world map, have each student mark his or her countries' rankings next to each country's name. When you are done, hold a class discussion on what patterns you see in the geographic distribution of wealth. Which areas of the world are especially wealthy, or especially poor? What factors might explain this? How does the difference between the rankings of Vietnam and the United States help explain why Heidi Bub grew up in the United States rather than Vietnam?

Culture | Geography | History | Economics

1. Divide the class into six groups. Visit a timeline of Vietnam between 1945 and 1997, and assign one group each of the six time periods shown on the timeline. Each group should pick the three or so events from its time period that it thinks were most important. As a class, create a wall-sized timeline of the entire period. As each group writes its entries on the timeline, it should explain to the class what the event was and why it was significant.

2. Read the timeline history of adoption in the United States. Select one of the issues raised by an entry in the timeline; then research and write a brief report or personal essay on that issue. For example, how was the "Orphan Train" movement of the 1800s and early 1900s similar to, and different from, Operation Babylift? What qualifications do states impose on people who would like to adopt a child? Under what circumstances, if any, do you think government should take racial or ethnic background into consideration in selecting an adoptive home? What rights do birth parents have to conceal their identity from their children after they are adopted, and what rights do adopted children have to examine government records that might help them find their natural parents?

Culture | Geography | History | Economics

1. Imagine that you and your spouse live in a very poor country and have a young child. A family living in a much wealthier country offers to adopt your child and can provide it with many advantages, including superior health care, education, and housing. With a partner, write the script of a conversation between you and your spouse regarding what you should do, then act it out for the class.

2. How expensive is it to raise a child? Write down your own estimate of the total amount of money a middle-income American family will spend on a child born today during that child's first 17 years. Then ask five people to provide their estimates; you should try to obtain estimates from people who have children of their own, as well as people who do not. Figure out the average of the six estimates you have. Then compare your results with those of your classmates. Finally, with the help of your teacher and/or a librarian, find out the correct answer. How accurate were people's estimates?

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