Research world landmarks to create a global calendar

Research world landmarks to create a global calendar

In this lesson, students learn about the history and culture of countries around the world by exploring famous landmarks or monuments. Working in teams, students research the landmarks of 12 countries and create a yearlong calendar.


Students will do the following:

  • Distinguish between different features of places and landmarks, including whether they are natural, historical, functional, or symbolic.
  • Explore a country and its culture through its national landmarks.
  • Use technology tools to research and communicate information.
  • Demonstrate research skills, using the Internet and printed materials.

Learning Outcomes

Students will do the following:

  • Use the Internet to research 10 landmarks from one country.
  • Work in teams to create a page in the class "Around the World Calendar," based on their research, and add that page to the yearlong class calendar.

Lesson procedure


Every country in the world has nationally known landmarks or monuments. These landmarks often represent or symbolize the culture of a country (showing photosynths of these landmarks will give students an excellent view of them in their specific context). Go to You can click the geo-tag on a photosynth to link to a world map displaying the location of the landmark.

The Eiffel Tower is a familiar landmark in Paris, France. The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt, and the Great Wall of China are also well known around the world. How many famous landmarks can you name?

The Statue of Liberty in New York City, U.S.A. is an example of such a national landmark. What do you know about the Statue of Liberty and what it tells us about the United States of America?

All landmarks tell us something about a country or culture, but they tell us different things in different ways. A place can be designated as a landmark for many reasons. It can represent the country or culture because of the following reasons: [you may want to show your students photos of these or other landmarks from the World landmarks site or photosynths of the landmarks on the Photosynth site to illustrate your point. The Photosynth site has a great collection of interactive, three-dimensional views of famous national landmarks, many of them geo tagged.

It has a unique construction, like the Coliseum in Rome or the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Can you name others like this?

It has a distinctive color, shape or size such as the Kremlin in Russia or the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Can you name others like this?

It has functional significance, like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. or the Tower Bridge in London, England. Can you name others?

It has symbolic significance, like the Blarney Stone in Ireland or the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

It has unique and remarkable natural features, like the Grand Canyon in the United States or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Can you name others like this?

It has a special meaning for the history of that country or culture, like the hills and fields where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in the American Civil War or the Acropolis in Greece. These landmarks are called historic landmarks.

In the United States, fewer than 2,500 sites have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. These landmarks have been determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be nationally significant in U.S. history and culture. What are some of the landmarks that you think should be on this list? Why? [Compare their answers to the United States National Park Service's list of National Historical Landmarks by state].

Former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote this about the United States' national historic landmarks: "As a nation, we have allowed too much of our heritage ? the places and objects that comprise the collective memory of America-to deteriorate. These reminders of our past should be protected to inspire future generations. Their preservation is our sacred trust." [Source] What do you think she means by this statement?

In this project, you will explore the famous landmarks of countries around the world and discuss how those landmarks represent the identified countries. You will also discuss how the landmarks reflect that country's collective memory and represent that country to the world.

Divide the class into 12 teams, one for each month of the year. Each team will choose a country, research its landmarks, and create a page for the class calendar. The calendar will feature all 12 countries, each with one significant landmark or monument. Student activity

The Student handout (Office Word document, 22 KB) includes details on the main activities for this lesson plan, including Step 1, "Select and research a country and a landmark," and Step 2, "Create a page in the 'Around the World' calendar."

Create a calendar for the student activity

  1. Open Office Publisher 2007
  2. Use a calendar template to quickly create a custom calendar. Make sure you include a text box near the photo placeholder so that students can enter information about their landmarks.

If you have Office Word 2002, or a more current version, and want to use the Calendar Wizard, use the following steps to create a calendar using a template:

  1. Open Word.
  2. In the New Document task pane, in the New Form template section, click General Templates.
  3. On the Other Documents tab, double-click the Calendar Wizard. Click the Next button to begin.

    Note: if the Calendar Wizard is not already installed. Word will begin installing it automatically. You might have to supply the Microsoft Office CD or network location of the Office Setup application.

  4. Select one style of calendar from the three choices available (Boxes & Borders, Banner, or Jazzy), and then click Next.
  5. Select whether you would like to print your calendar in Portrait (vertical) or Landscape (horizontal). Click yes to leave room for a picture. Click Next.
  6. Select the starting and ending months for the calendar, and click Next.
  7. Click Finish to see the new calendar.
  8. Name the calendar and save it.

Teacher Tips

  • A mark of symbolism

    The Statue of Liberty is one the world’s most symbolic landmarks. It carries an inscription. Do students know what it is? Ask your students to think of their town or city.

  • It’s only natural

    Some of the most amazing landmarks are natural ones. The manner in which they occurred is a compelling study for researchers and geologists. The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia, is one example. Victoria Falls in Africa is another.

​Lesson extension activities

Math connection

Ask students to research the number of visitors who visit their chosen landmark annually by month. Then, ask them to create a bar chart or line graph showing the number of visitors by month.

Ask students to discuss the implications of the number of visitors during any given month. You may also want to have the groups add this statistic to their calendar pages.

Other connections

Ask students to add the national holidays and dates of national historical significance for each country represented.

Have students write an essay arguing for designating a new place in the world as a national landmark for that country. Ask them to do the following: identify whether the site is of historical, natural, symbolic, functional, or other importance; compare it to existing sites on the national list; and make a cogent argument for its addition to the list, with supporting evidence and answers to potential objections.


Assess the students on the following:

  • The research on the country they chose and the landmarks each team reported in its Microsoft Office Word document.
  • The calendar page the team created.
  • Participation and team collaboration.