Today, virtual and distance learning has become more important than ever. At the Basque Museum, we are working hard to keep you connected and curious. Visit this page often to see new educational resources as they become available.
COMING SPRING 2021
ZOOM and Live Presentations – If you would like a museum staff member to talk to your class directly, contact us to setup something special with your class.
The Student Activity Workbook is the perfect introduction to the Basque Culture for students grades 1 – 6. This workbook comes as a PDF file for you to download, print, and use in your classroom. It has over 20 pages of activities and information on topics such as origin, language, sports, and music. It also includes supplemental activities that can easily be adapted for younger or older students, and online components are easily accessible on this webpage (see below).
FREE – This resource comes at no cost, but we are very appreciative if you would like to make a donation to hep support the education programs and empower us to continue making these resources. Make Donation Here
The Student Activity Workbook will also be included in all In-Person Tour reservations when they are once again available. The perfect way to get your class ready for their visit!
Download by clicking image
Zazpiak Bat is the name of the Basque Coat of Arms. It roughly translates to “seven are one”, and is meant to show the unity of the seven Basque provinces. Each section includes the coat of arms for each province, and has special meaning to that place.
For this activity, create your own coat of arms by drawing and coloring in this blank Coat of Arms. Notice there are seven different sections for you to use, just like in the Basque version.
You can download and print your own blank coat of arms here: Zazpiak Bat Coat of Arms
The seven provinces of the Basque Country today are divded into three categories. In Spain, there is the Basque Autonomous Country which includes the provinces of Bizkaia, Araba, and Gipuzkoa. In Spain there is also the single province, Navarre. In France, there are the three provinces of Lapurdi, Nafarroa Beherea, and Zuberoa. Although there are 7 provinces and different local governments, they consider themselves a united culture.
You have probably heard of culture before, but do you know what it actually means? It can be a hard word to define.
Culture is a pattern of behavior shared by a group of people. There are many different things that make up culture! You can also be a part of more than one culture at the same time. Sometimes culture is shared by a small group of people, like your family, and sometimes a large group, such as the entire country that you live in.
For this assignment, grab your notebooks.
For younger students, write down 10 – 15 words that describe objects or activities in your every day life that you think illustrate something unique about you and your culture.
For older students, try to define what culture you feel like you are a part of, and what cultures you would like to learn more about in your community. Remember, you can be a member of many different cultures! Perhaps you have a school culture, family culture, or ethnic culture you identify with. Try to think outside the box and examine your community.
For the Teacher: If your students need some additional prompts, here are some ideas for them to draw and think about to get them started.
The Basque language, Euskara, has been passed down orally for thousands of years. The first time it was written down was in the 1500’s, but by that time it was already thousands of years old. Euskara is also a language isolate, which means it isn’t related to any other language in the world. Do you think that Euskara has changed over time if it was never written down? Since it wasn’t written down, we have a hard time of knowing!
Conduct this experiment to come to your own conclusions about what happens when we pass information by word-of-mouth.
Bringing it together: After doing this exercise, do you think that languages themselves could change, over enough time? Do you think english changes from generation to generation? Do you think that languages could eventually die out, or change completely?
When we think about how difficult it is for a language to remain intact by a small group of speakers for thousands of years, like Euskara, we can see how impressive it is that it still exists today!
Here are some clips of some lovely ladies speaking in Euskara. Listen carefully and see if you can pick out any words you learned. Does it sound like spanish, or completely different? These clips come from Inner Strength, one of our exhibits telling the stories of Basque women.
Use the music in your workbook to learn the words to this popular basque children’s song. Can you figure out what it is about? Presented by Euskal Karaokeak.
Here are some examples of Basque Music. Check them out!
This is the music for the Jota, a popular street dance
The alboka is a Basque woodwind instrument that has been used for centuries. It is a double pipe instrument that requires circular breathing to produce sound, much like a bagpipe without the bag to store air.
The ttun ttun is a vertical stringed instrument that is played as a percussion instrument. Although simple in design, it is often played simultaneous with a txirula or other fluted Basque instrument.
Trikitixa and Pandero
The first instrument demonstrated in this video is the trikitxa, or Basque Accordion. This diatonic accordion is unique; on the left hand the notes stay the same when the bellows contract or expand, but on the right hand the notes change each way. Our second instrument is the pandero, commonly known as a tambourine. Pay close attention to how it is played, it is the technique that makes it uniquely Basque!
Txistu and Danboril
Here we have another set of instruments that are commonly played together. The txistu is a three holed flute played with one hand. They historically used to be made of bone or wood. There are several variations of the common txistu, such as the smaller xirula, or much larger silbote.
A txalaparta is a unique basque percussion instrument played by two people. It originated from when the Basque farmers would make apple cider, and the rhythmic crushing of the apples with large wooden paddles. Each farm would have its own txalaparta melody that they would play so the village could hear when the cider was ready.
When playing the txalaparta, the music is usually played by two musicians simultaneously improvising, or coming up with the rhythm and melody on the spot. They do not write down any melodies like most other instruments. Instead, the two musicians listen to each others ques to improvise a melody.
The Rhythm Keeper and the Rule Breaker
The Rhythm Keeper sets the pace and rhythm of the song.
The Rule Breaker plays against the rhythm keeper, trying to break the melody.
Watch the video presented and see if you can tell which one is the rhythm keeper and which one is the rule breaker.
A txalaparta can be constructed from many different materials, giving each txalaparta a unique sound. Check out this video of the musical group Nomadak TX playing a txalaparta made of ice. (Skip to 1:30 to hear music).
Create your own Txalaparta
To construct and play your own txalaparta, all it takes is some creativity and materials you can find around the house. You can make a traditional txalaparta like the one pictured below, or get creative and make your own version!
You are ready to give it a try! Designate one musician to try and set a rhythm, we recommend slow and steady at first. Now your second player can come in, trying to create a different melody. Be sure to not play a note at the same time! You always want to be striking your txalaparta at separate times.
We would love to see your homemade txalapartas! Share pictures or videos to our facebook page or isntagram @basquemuseum or tag us #basquemuseumboise
Need more inspiration to figure it out? Check out youtube for lots of great examples of txalaparta music.
Here are some different basque dances for you to check out!
The Arinak basque dancers performed this dance at the winnemucca basque festival 2018.
An overview of Basque dances at the 2019 San Inazio festival in Boise by Hella Basque.
Use this recording of Tamborrada and follow the instruction in your workbook to do your own festival dance!
Presented by Smithsonian Folk Life
Basque Pala and pelota overview by Ben & Kaz.
Examples of Jai alai presented by the Lonely Planet
Basque Rural Sports, presented by Smithsonian Folk Life