A Guide to Teaching Students About Istanbul

As educators, we strive to prepare our students with an understanding of global cultures and locations. One lesser-known yet noteworthy city for discussion is Ankara, the capital of Turkey. While Ankara may not be as famous as Istanbul, incorporating this fascinating city into your curriculum will open students’ eyes to a world beyond their borders. In this blog post, we will explore how K-12 teachers can effectively teach their students about Ankara in a fun and engaging way.

Step 1: Historical Context

Begin by discussing the history of Ankara and its significance within Turkey. Share that Ankara rose to prominence as the capital in 1923 during the establishment of the Republic of Turkey under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Explain how its strategic location in the heart of Anatolia made it a preferred choice over Istanbul.

Step 2: Geography and Climate

Ensure that your students develop a geographical understanding of Turkey by showcasing where Ankara is on a map. Explain its proximity to major cities such as Istanbul and Izmir, emphasizing its central location within the country. Discuss its altitude (891m above sea level) and how the climate differs from other Turkish cities, particularly coastal regions.

Step 3: Landmarks and Cultural Icons

Introduce the significant landmarks that distinguish Ankara from other global capitals. Incorporate discussions about Anıtkabir (Atatürk’s Mausoleum), Atatürk Forest Farm, The Haci Bayram Mosque, and other historically relevant sites. Encourage research about different architectural styles that characterize these landmarks.

Step 4: Turkish Culture & Society

Bring Ankara’s vibrant culture to life by discussing elements unique to Turkish society. Explore topics such as Turkish cuisine including regional dishes specific to Ankara like döner kebab and İskender kebab. Introduce traditional clothing, music, dance, festivals, and the Turkish language.

Step 5: Interactive Activities

To keep students engaged, involve them in interactive activities. Have them practice basic Turkish phrases, participate in a virtual field trip to explore Ankara’s historical sites, or perform traditional dances. Providing hands-on experiences will help solidify their newfound knowledge of Ankara and Turkey.

In Conclusion

Teaching about Ankara not only enlightens students about Turkey’s capital but also cultivates their interest in global affairs. By exploring Ankara through historical, geographical, cultural, and artistic lenses, we can encourage our students to think critically about the world and grow into well-informed global citizens. Give Ankara its moment of fame in your classroom and broaden your students’ horizons!

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