As the second-largest country in Europe, Ukraine has always stood at a crossroads of cultural influences. It is a key part of Europe–and the management of its relationships with other countries (in particular, Russia) is key to the future of the whole of eastern Europe. In addition, Ukraine possesses rich farmlands, a well-developed industrial base, a highly trained labor force, and a sound educational system. These factors and more give Ukraine the potential to become a major European economy. Despite its turbulent–and, at times, traumatic–history, Ukraine has emerged as a full-fledged member of the global society.
In the first part of the unit, students brainstorm what they already know about Ukraine and try to locate it on a world map. As a class, they answer four initial questions about Ukraine and discuss the answers. Next, pairs of students engage in a fact-finding hunt to discover basic information about Ukraine. The class then divides into groups and reads handouts to learn about different time periods in the history of Ukraine. In class and as homework, students create a news broadcast based on the materials in their handouts.
Next, groups present the information from their handouts. Groups who are not presenting take notes. Students then learn about decorative Ukrainian eggs (pysanky) and are assigned an event from Ukrainian history to depict on their own decorative eggs.
In the final part of the unit, students display their decorative eggs throughout the classroom. Students then observe and take notes regarding their classmates' creations. The class then debriefs the lesson with a discussion about some of the similarities and differences between Ukraine and the society in which the students live, and what the future of Ukraine might look like.
This unit seeks to provide high school teachers and students with a broad introduction to Ukrainian history with activities that touch upon Ukrainian culture.