Procedures: Students will find and examine the description of a national game called “Kokpar” on page two of ‘Kazakh Games’ from the Children’s Folk Games Project of the I*EARN Network written by Ainura Zhakupova from the Lyceum 35 School in Uralsk, Kazakhstan.
Students will discuss the difficulty of understanding the goals of the game due to cultural and language barriers and how this game of skill is similar to other national sports around the world. (The description reads- The rules consist of the following: several fellows on their horses take away the killed sheep or the he-goat from each other. The boy who takes away the sheep from the others, has to ride away from them. The competition goes on the definite distance. “Kokpar” is the examination for boldness, endurance and riding skill. Also it is important to ride on a good horse in the game.)
Students will view a copy of the Roseta Stone and hear the story of how it helped crack the code of Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Students will discuss the difficulty of understanding another cultures way of life because of language barriers and the time in which that culture flourished.
Students will each research the national sport of a particular country and write a detailed guide for how the game is played.
Students will create a list of the natural resources, geographic features and climate of the country of origin of the sport they researched. Using this list, students will create an alphabet for an unknown culture that flourished in this country over one thousand years ago. The alphabet must consist of twenty-six symbols developed from their list, one each for the letters of our own alphabet. The symbols can be anything on their list, for example a culture from Brazil may have a Toucan’s beak for the letter “A”. The object does not have to start with the letter being represented.
Next, the students are to rewrite the guide to playing their national sport using the “letters” from their made up alphabet. Only the vowels will be identified under their corresponding symbols.
Students exchange papers. Using the vowels as a beginning, the children are to attempt to decipher the coded playing guide. After five minutes, students are given the symbols for ‘E’s, ‘D’s, and ‘G’s. After ten more minutes, students are given four more letters of the designers’ choice. After another ten minutes, eight more. If not complete at the end of fifteen minutes, students exchange keys to made up alphabets.
Students discuss the frustration involved in the process and the role such work plays in the sciences of archeology and anthropology.
Students share this exercise with the students of Uralsk, Kazakhstan and others on the Folk Games I*EARN website.