SA40 If I Really Knew You   (The Cultural Iceberg)

SA40 If I Really Knew You (The Cultural Iceberg)

This post is also available in: Français (French)



If I Really Knew You   (The Cultural Iceberg)

  • Grade:      K-8
  • Date:         Feb. 12 – 16, 2018.   (no deadline)
  • Share:        Upload pictures to TwitterInstagram, or Facebook, or
  •                               email to
  • Hashtag   Please share student works, and photographs of your students completing this activity using the hashtag #akgtcsa




  1. To identify the visible and invisible elements of a person’s culture.
  2. To learn to appreciate other people’s cultures in Canada.



  • Social Studies: concept of culture
  • Geography (Human Geography: population patterns)
  • Oral Language (sharing, introducing others)
  • Character Education (showing respect and appreciation)



Each special activity in February focuses on helping students learn to relate and interact with other children of other cultures with empathy and respect. This week’s activity follows “The Potato Activity” from last week, where students focused on what we miss miss when we generalize about a group of people.

This week’s activity is designed to help students look beyond a person’s appearance, to all of the rich stories they have to tell which are invisible to first glance.


This week’s challenge:


    • A   Introduce an appropriate version of the Cultural Iceberg to your students.  (downloads below)

Intermediate Cultural Iceberg 


Primary Junior Cultural Iceberg 


B   Discuss elements which make up a person’s appearance, and the less visible elements of a person’s culture. Discuss how a person’s appearance can often be influenced by their family’s cultural background.

    • Have students do a “Wondering” about elements of mainstream Canadian culture. How can that be different from a person’s cultural traditions, values, and beliefs at home?



  • A   Using a blank cultural iceberg (download below) or a blank piece of paper, ask your students to draw a picture of their physical appearance above the water line on the culture diagram. Note: This is not meant to be an art activity – stick drawings with labels will do fine!


Primary – Junior                           Intermediate

  • B    Below the water line, challenge students to write words or draw pictures to show some of the hidden elements of their culture. (Select elements which are appropriate for the age and maturity of your students.)
  • C    Have the students circle 5 items on their own Cultural Iceberg below the water line which they would be comfortable in the class knowing about them.



  • A    Have students pair up and share their diagrams with another student. Ask them to try to discover 5 things they didn’t know about the other person before, or 5 things they found interesting to learn and discover.

*** Important ***  Allow a student to pass on this if they do not wish to share anything, and explain to the class that it is important to respect other people’s privacy.

  • B    Have each person introduce their partner to the class, and share the 5 things the student identified with circle.




  • After each introduction, have the class clap or show some form of appreciation for the unique qualities of that student and for allowing us to get to know them and their culture.


  • Once the activity is over, ask the students to reflect on what they have learned about themselves and other people. How did it feel to have others show some form of appreciation for your unique qualities, and your personal culture? 



  • Cultural Iceberg diagram appropriate for student age level
  • Blank Cultural Iceberg (download below) or blank white paper
  • Drawing utensils



PLEASE share photographs of your students in action! 

However, please be sure to keep student identities out of any special activity pictures you share.



~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~




Broken links on this page? 
This is a collaborative team effort: please contact us and let us know!