Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Africa Unit Study Wrap Up

Living in Tanzania, it is only fair that my class has spent the last month doing a thorough study of the continent of Africa.  For our primary base, we used a Lapbook on Africa (, which was a good point to start on a lot of things. Now naturally, being here, we have a lot of resources, and I finally got to use the things around us to have a great time studying Africa.

  • African Peanut Stew
-the kitchen ladies taught us to make us a great peanut stew, similar to the one here:

  • Bao (Mancala)
-Our very own Naomi taught us a classic Tanzanian schoolyard game (known as Mancala in a lot of places, but Bao here). My favorite moment of her teaching was when she nonchalantly grabbed a machete from the guard here and began hacking at the dirt to make the divets.   Rules for this version can be found here:

  • Tinga Tinga Art
-This was probably our favorite part of the study, where we spent a whole morning painting our own Tinga Tinga paintings under Kimambo, a local artist. He drew the outlines of the animals, and then the students painted the details. For those who don’t have access to an excellent Tinga Tinga artist, there’s a cool video example of the style here:

  • Lake Chala
-Since our science study was on the biome of the grasslands, we went to our local grasslands to sketch and take pictures.  It’s summer here, and it was a blisteringly hot day, but we swam down at the lake too, watching from the cool water as monkeys swung through the trees nearby.

  • Weaving
-We got to do a couple field trips during this unit study, and one of them was visiting a lady who does weaving here locally. She was super friendly, and walked us through the whole process of weaving thread into a beautiful cloth. It takes hours to wind the bobbins, not to even mention the days it takes to make a bolt of cloth. She sells her work, but I’m not sure how she lives by selling each bolt of fabric (many days’ work) for 100,000 ($60). Her assistant let us try to get the rhythm of working the machine with all its pedals and handles – it was not easy!  His rhythm and speed were incredible on this homemade machine crafted all from wood and old bicycle parts.

  • Geography Game
-My Father’s World curriculum comes with maps for a Geography Game, which aids in learning the names and locations of all the countries of the world. My students love this game, and are so competitive I have to tell them sometimes that if they don’t chill out about mistaking Namibia for Angola, we’ll have to stop playing. You would think they were winning a million shillings instead of a piece of gum, from the way they play. Essentially the game uses a map of a continent with numbered countries, and cards with country names. You draw a card and have to guess the number on the map.  If you guess correctly, you get to put a marker on that country.  If you don't, you lose your turn.  The first one to get to a certain number of markers wins.

Fun study! On to Saudi Arabia!

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