Keizai Koho Center 2006 Teacher Fellowships
Unit plan submitted by:
Dr. Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen
Assistant Professor of History and Social Studies Coordinator
Department of History and Geography
University of Central Oklahoma
Liberal Arts Building, Box 182
100 North University Drive
Edmond, OK 73034
Chair/Supervisor: Dr. Kenny Brown
Situating Japan in United States Social Studies Curriculum
Timeline for Presentation Opportunities
Information gathered at the Keizi Koho Center Teacher Fellowship will be presented in the
1. The unit plan, a two week course of study for tenth grade world history class, will be
presented as a model unit plan for pre-service teachers enrolled in the University of
Central Oklahoma SOST 4383 Social Studies Methods class in October 2006 and January
2. Lesson plans associated with the unit plan will be presented in September 2006 and
January 2007 for pre-service teachers enrolled in the University of Central Oklahoma
SOST 4383 Social Studies Methods class.
3. Proposal to present “Situating Japan in United States Social Studies Curriculum” unit and
lesson plans with a PowerPoint presentation at the Asian Studies Development Program
Conference March 2007.
4. Proposal to present “Situating Japan in United States Social Studies Curriculum” unit and
lesson plans with a PowerPoint presentation to the National Council of Social Studies
Curriculum Project for Keizai Koho Center Teacher Fellowships
Project Statement submitted by Dr. Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen
Unit Plan Questions – How is it that the island nation of Japan, with few natural resources is able
to compete with nations far more flush in natural resources? How did this natural resource
starved country transform itself into an industrial super power? Is it possible that Japanese
families working in conjunction with the Japanese educational system forged this success? What
can we learn about historical Japanese cultural and social practices by studying the Japanese
family and educational system? To what extent do these values transform Japanese youngsters
into formidable industrial and high tech warriors? Is it possible that the cultural and social
constructs of the Japanese society make this happen? If so, how?
Strategy - To answer these questions, I have drawn on my experiences at the Keizai Koho Center
which have re-shaped my proposed plan.
This unit plan will seek to make tangible connections between family culture, the educational
system, and economic achievements. The study will try to support the claim that Japan
exemplifies a place where individuals have been well prepared academically in math and science
and form the backbone of society, which enables the island country to compete in industry and
technology. The benefit of this study and its challenges rests on how to take a “lessons learned
approach” to certain singularly Japanese educational practices.
Unit Plan Outline – This unit on Japan will be comprised of ten lesson plans (two week unit)
focusing on the history of Japan from the early modern era to the present, Japanese philosophy
and cultural practices, Japanese state, family structures, and educational system. The goal of the
unit plan will be to highlight Japan’s economic achievements which I argue are underpinned by
its strong cultural values.
Contribution to Internet Sourcebook – Draft – Modification Pending Acceptance to
Situating Japan in United States
National Council of Social Studies Thematic Strands
Social Studies Curriculum
The University of Central Oklahoma People, Places and Environments: In exploration of
teacher education program is Japan, its geography, people, and important historical
accredited by the National Council and commercial sites of activity will be identified. This
for the Accreditation of Teacher theme will enable students to comprehend the
Education (NCATE) and the achievements and challenges of this island nation.
National Council of Social Studies
(NCSS). To meet accreditation Time, Continuity, and Change: By seeking to understand
standards for teacher education my the deep historical roots of Japanese identity, students
pre-service teachers are required to will be able to understand the unique and historical
learn the ten thematic standards characteristics of Japanese identity.
outlined by NCSS. My research
Culture: The study of Japanese culture, belief systems,
project has been developed to
educational and political ideals students will be able to
support five of the ten NCSS
make some comparative judgments regarding Japan and
thematic strands which I identified in
their own history and culture in the United States.
the right hand column of this table.1
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions: Institutions such as
the imperial family and the family of everyday Japanese
life, and schools play an integral role in shaping
individuals and culture, by focusing on the Japanese
family, students will identify patterns of behavior that
shape, shape, and re-shape the individual to become
productive and engaged citizens.
Production, Distribution, and Consumption: Japan’s
natural resources are limited. By examining how
Japanese high tech companies improve their comparative
advantages, i.e. relying on highly qualified employees,
students will identify economic strategies for overcoming
Oklahoma Priority Academic Skills Standard 7: The student will describe, compare and
Standards contrast selected civilizations in Asia, Africa, and the
Americas; specifically, describe Japan’s development,
and the significance of Shintoism and Buddhism, and the
influence of Chinese culture.
The standards listed here comply with the National Council of Social Studies Standards by which U.S. secondary
education social studies programs are accredited.
Standard 17: The student will analyze post WWII
global and contemporary events.
Logistics (Time/Place/Space) – Ten Lesson One - Geography of Japan – Mapping Japan –
Day Plan of Study with Map exercise identifying major geographical features
Materials/Tools/Resources – Ten and cities in contemporary Japan.
lecture topics are outlined in the right Working from PowerPoint slides that show maps of
hand column. Japan, students will label outline maps, identifying
Materials needed to conduct the geographical, political, and demographic centers in
course of study include a World Japan. Key word – prefecture.
History textbook, outline maps,
access to the Internet, and an LCD Lesson Two - Historical overview of Japan from the
projector. Asuka period 593 C.E. to the 1603, the end of the
Students will consult Internet
resources and textbooks to complete Students will take notes and respond to a lecture on the
in-class presentations focusing on Japanese language (see English to Kanji at
key word list. http://unipen.nici.kun.nl/kanji/english.html/ ).
Students will conclude each class by Students will read a portion of Lady Murasaki, Tales
compiling a list of three main points from the Genji
that help to explain Japan and its rich http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/heroine9.html/ in
history, culture, and economic class and comment on this work.
achievements. Key words – novel, kanji, dynasty.
Students will be assessed on in-class
Lesson Three - Historical overview of Japan from the
presentations and summary essay.
Edo period, 1603 to the Heisei period, 2005 C.E. This
day will show highlights of historical sites photographed
while on the Japan study tour. Key words include -
samurai, ninja, and shogun.
This lesson will be highlighted with a PowerPoint lecture
on the relationship between the emperor and the samurai.
It will include pictures of the Nijo-jo, the residence of
Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Ninomaru Palace, and the
understated Imperial Palace of the emperor.
Lesson Four - Culture – An outline of the key themes of
Japanese culture will begin with a lecture that shows how
Japanese cultural life has been shaped by religion. But
the point will also be made that religion plays little role
in the lives of contemporary Japanese.
The PowerPoint presentation will focus on representative
Japanese Buddhist and Shinto temples, including the
early Tōdai-ji Temple at Nara, the Nishi-Hongan-ji
temple in Kyoto, and the Shinto Toyokawa Inari also
known as Myogon-ji Temple and the Asakusa-Jinja
Temple in Tokyo. Key words include: Buddhism and
Lesson Five - Culture – Contemporary Japanese family
culture will form the focus of this lesson. We will draw
comparisons between the everyday life of parents and
children, in Japan and the United States.
Students will see and take notes on a PowerPoint
presentation that will focus on Japanese cultural
traditions including art and architecture. The primary
buildings explored will be the Nijo Castle and the
imperial estate in Kyoto.
Lesson Six - Cultural expectations - We will draw
comparisons between the day-by-day, class-by-class,
school year in Japan and in the United States in an effort
to understand the expected outcomes of Japanese parents
and society. Students will consult the “National Diet
Library” at http://www.ndl.go.jp/en/data/endl.html/.
Students will learn about Juku Schools. They will see
pictures from the schools and begin to understand that
Japanese children have days that are far more structured
academically than their own.
Lesson Seven - Politics – A contemporary overview of
Japanese politics will be drawn by reading Japan Times
at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/ and by watching NHK
Students will draw a comparison between Japanese and
American political structures and issues by consulting
the Japan National Archives at
http://www.jacar.go.jp/asia_en/index_en.html/ for further
information on key words: Japanese Diet and Parliament
and the online Japan Times.
Lesson Eight - Industry and Economy – Japan’s natural
resources economy will be the overview of a PowerPoint
presentation. Data will be presented from 1945 to 2005.
Specific indexes such as industrial production, the
Nikkei Stock Market, and profit expectations within
Japanese industries will be outlined in a PowerPoint
presentation. The key word for this class is Nikkei Stock
Students will create a spreadsheet in which they track the
important contributions that Japanese industries make for
the greater good of Japanese society.
Companies that students will explore in this class will
include Aeon Corporation, Omron Corporation,
Panasonic, Honda, and Ricoh Corporations.
Lesson Nine - Industry and Economy – Specific
industries and the cultural climate in Japanese businesses
will be identified in this class. Students will learn about
the different expectations for Japanese businesses and
leaders and draw a comparison with what they know
about American businesses and practices. The key
resource for this class will be “Nikkei Net Interactive” at
Students will compare the mission statements, the
commitment to corporate citizenship, and profit margins
of five Japanese corporations, Aeon Corporation, Omron
Corporation, Panasonic, Honda, and Ricoh Corporations
with five American corporations, a shopping center
developer, Forest City Enterprises, Hewlett Packard,
General Motors, and Xerox, General Motors, and Dow
Lesson Ten – days ten and eleven - After completing
their research, working in small groups, students will
have two class periods to prepare their ten minute
presentations. Each student group will present on
geography and history, review components of Japanese
culture, such as Shintoism and Buddhism, education, and
then provide an overview of the Japanese business
climate and commitment to corporate social
Assessments – Students will be divided into small groups.
They will draw on in-class presentations and
Student Projects based on key words.
additional research that they do during study
hall periods in small groups. Students will
collect enough information to fill five
PowerPoint slides. They need to make five
important points in defining their key words.
In-class writing assignment – summarizing Forty minute essay assignment – requirements
topics, geography, history, culture, politics and introductory paragraph, thesis statement, three
economy in Japan. main paragraphs, conclusion.