Blues Unit First Nations Peoples Unit  Lao Unit Polka Unit
Iowa Folklife Volume II Bosnian Unit Gospel Unit Latino Unit Vietnamese Tet Unit
Iowa Folklife Volume II Danish Unit Asian Indian Unit Old Time Music Unit
      Vietnamese Lesson Plans
the country Tét homage to ancestors traditional foods
  dragon dance wishes for young and old entertainment  
  lesson plans resources traditional artists  


Goals:  Familiarize students with Vietnamese culture through the traditions of Tét games, food, dance, music, and clothing.

Objectives:  Students will be able to:

  1. Locate Vietnam on a map.
  2. Explain why many Vietnamese people fled their country after 1975 and eventually came to Iowa and other parts of the U.S.
  3. Compare and contrast the Vietnamese New Year celebration with how other cultures celebrate their New Year.
  4. Explore games that are traditionally played during Tét.
  5. Examine foods that are served during the celebration.
  6. Describe customary ceremonies and rituals associated with Tét.
  7. Explore traditional Vietnamese music and dance.
  8. Describe traditional Vietnamese clothing.

Questions to be Answered:

  1. What happened in Vietnam prior to 1975 and in 1975?
  2. How do one-time refugees preserve their traditions in a new homeland?
  3. What is Tét, and how is it celebrated?
  4. Why are rituals important?
  5. How do you play con (ball) tossing and Lô tô? Why are these games popular?
  6. What are some traditional foods served during Tét?
  7. What are some traditional forms of music and dance performed for Tét?
  8. What type of traditional clothing do Vietnamese people wear during celebrations?

Suggested Methods and Activities:

  1. Divide students into small groups.  Locate Vietnam on a world map and ask each group to research a certain aspect of Vietnam history (Control by China, French occupation, Vietnam War, flight of refugees, etc.).  Each group might present a one-page overview   to the class.  Discuss the reasons why some Vietnamese fled and settled in Iowa. Resources:

    *This activity most appropriate for grades 6-9, but may be modified for younger grades by working as a class to answer questions.

  2. Have students read the overview provided. Have them list and then discuss the differences and similarities between Tét and their own New Year celebrations. Make sure to be aware that Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu students as well as those with a heritage from elsewhere celebrate a New Year different than the secular western New Year. Visit the website for more information: 

    *This activity may be modified for most grade levels.  Grades K-1 can have large group discussions and grades 2-4 can work in smaller groups.  Older grades can work in pairs or alone to create presentations on specific topics. Vocabulary and spelling can also be worked into this section as well as paired or group interviews

  3. Ask students to share their definition of a ritual and a ceremony and then provide examples of each. How do they differ? How is Tét marked off from the rest of the year? What are the beginning ceremonies? The ending ones? What ones happen during the event? What else makes Tét (and other New Year’s) different from every day events? Students in grades 6-12 could write essays based on these questions. Students grades 3-5 could write a paragraph or two.

    *This activity may be used with all grade levels with adjustments for level of detail. 

  4. Use the World Wide Web or the local library to research information on con (ball) tossing and Lô tô, and develop a similar version to be played in class.

*This activity is best suited for grades 3-5 for playing the game and grades 6-8 for research.

  1. Explore traditional Tét music and dance. Why is the dragon (or lion or unicorn) dance so important? How do students learn the dance? What are some traditional Vietnamese songs? Explore traditional musical instruments. What are the basic types (plucked, bowed, struck, blown)? What kinds of sounds do they make?

    *This activity may be modified for all grades depending on degree of detail. 

  1. Discuss the various foods that are served during Tét.  Make a list of the ingredients for each. Ask students to explore the reasons why different cultures eat different foods then what they might eat.  How do the history, economy, landscape, location, environmental resources available, etc. affect the diet of a group of people. If possible, provide samples of traditional Vietnamese food from local restaurants or visit an Asian grocery store.  Ask student parents or local traditional cooks to visit the classroom and demonstrate making some traditional foods. Have students try some recipes themselves (see below)

    *This activity may be varied to use with all grade levels.

  2. Ask students to explore traditional Vietnamese clothing.  Have them research the fabrics most commonly used, the colors and differing styles.  Discuss the importance of using certain fabrics and colors. How did the ao dai develop as a traditional dress form for Vietnamese women?  If available, bring in examples and/or invite a Vietnamese seamstress to talk to the class.  Research online or look for books in the library. 

    *This activity most appropriate for grade 5-8, but may be modified for older grades by expanding the activity to include a presentation of fabrics/clothing, conducting more research, and writing about the cultural significance of traditional dress.

Lesson Plans created by World of Difference and Riki Saltzman. For multicultural programming in your classroom, go to World of Difference.

the country Tét homage to ancestors traditional foods
  dragon dance wishes for young and old entertainment  
  lesson plans resources traditional artists  
this site best viewed with Internet Explorer v7.0