The Internet TESL Journal

A Way to Teach Culture:
Large cups, small cups, whose cups?

Yoshiyuki Nakata
yoshiyuk [at]
Hinomoto Gakuen Junior College (Himeji, Japan)




Enhance students' recognition of cultural differences


1 hour


5 minutes


MacDonald's cups (small/ medium/large) in native country and those in the U.S. Videotapes of one autobomile company's advertisements in the U.S. and that company's ads in native country

This activity offers an insight into conceptual differences, using advertisements to examine variations in products common to both the U.S. and native country.


  1. Show the MacDonalds (may be replace with any fast food company's) cups to the students. Have them guess which ones are used in which country and discuss why they think so.
  2. Show them which cup is used in which country, and explain what the reason for the size differential is.
  3. Show videos (have native language one translated into English) and ask students to list differences in style and technique that they can find.
  4. Point out any differences they may not have noticed.
  5. Lead a discussions in which students point out other cultural differences they may have noticed in their daily lives.


  1. In procedure 5, if it is the comparison between Japan and the U.S., mention that automobile advertisements such as Honda's in the U.S. point out the weaknesses of other Japanese automobile company's cars such as Toyota's or Nissan's and explain all the equipment included, such as air-bags, and their costs, while Japanese ones focus on image rather than cost and equipment, using famous singers, actors/actresses and dogs.
  2. Procedure 5 could be given as an assignment or developed into a contest with points awarded for the most differences noticed.

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. II, No. 5, May 1996