It's United Nations Day. Let's Play a Game.October 23, 2014

When did Australia became a member of the United Nations? Don't be ashamed if you didn't answer October 24, 1945. (You're not the only one.) It happened to be the day when this intergovernmental organization was founded. Australia was one of the founding members.

The United Nations (UN) was created after World War II, its original aim was the prevention of such conflict. Through the years, the UN broadened its function, from fostering social and economic development to providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine and natural disaster. But students might not grasp its importance. They can't comprehend the seriousness of such cases. But there's another way.

UN will celebrate its 70th year on October 24, and schools have a lineup of activities for that special day. Expect some to wear traditional dresses, reminding of Europe and Latin America. You don't know which nations they represent until you see the flags they carry. But you may still have a hard time guessing. So let's think of other games. Here are some suggestions:

Put a huge map of the world in front of the students. If you can't find one, then place a globe on top of the (teacher's) table. Say one country aloud and call one student to come to the front and point it. Then tell another (and so on). A few interesting facts about each country will make the entire activity interesting. Don't make it too serious.

Name the capital. Don't start this game by asking everyone to guess the capitals of African countries. (Some are too long.) Begin with the state capitals, followed by the cities in the Asia-Pacific region. Europe may be next.

Guess the flags. The Commonwealth of Nations is a piece of cake, but the European flags can be confusing. Many of them are tricoloured. A number of them have coat of arms that may be hard to remember. It can frustrate some students, so pick the ones that are frequently seen. Let's leave the American flag out of it.

Identify the city by its landmark. Big Ben is the main attraction of London. The Eiffel Tower is the iconic landmark of Paris. The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of New York. We will get there after showing the pictures of Uluru, Opera House, and Araluen Botanic Park.

Learn a new language. English may be the dialect of the international community, but this doesn't mean we can't learn a foreign dialect. Most of us will be on the road sooner or later. We can study the most common expressions in French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Read a book aloud. Most titles have that sense of place, but some transport the readers to a particular place. Call it armchair travelling. We only have limited time, so select a few paragraphs. Make sure that it will prompt the students to imagine.

You might have a better idea. Please do let us know.

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