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by Phillip Martin
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F. Activity Two -- African Research      Activity One was an introduction to African culture, research, and the computer lab.  In Activity Two, students are to research a critical current issue that is important to a region in Africa and discover multiple points of view about the issue.x Students could research issues that affect the people of Africa such as human rights, rights of the child, rights of indigenous people, health care and mortality rates, education, employment opportunities and income, agricultural practices, issues related to hunger, deforestation, population and family planning, economic inequities and distribution of wealth, the role of women in society, global inequities in technology, civil and human rights, trade, distribution of capital, and other indicators of people's and nationsí standard of living.
Pre-Research Activities


The teacher asks a question with many possible answers such as, name all the problems that you think exist in Africa that also exist in the US. xStudents then make a list on one piece of paper, each writing one answer and then passing the paper to the person to the left or right. The paper goes around the table.z Several may be in motion at one time.
Team KWL Students divide a piece of paper (landscape format) into thirds and mark each column as K , W and L. Under K they write what they know about subject matter. xUnder W what they want to learn.x Later, after their research, they summarize what they learned under L.
Jig Saw ReadingIn groups of three, each teammate has a part of a handout to read. x Student 1 must read and teach section A to student 2 and 3.x Student 2 must teach B and 3 must teach section C.x To do this, students with Section A unite and plan lessons.x B's and C's do the same; then return to original group of 1, 2, an 3 and teach.x x
Pairs Compare Pairs research independently, usually at a computer, compare their answers with another pair, and then see if working together they can come up with additional responses neither pair alone had.
Paraphrase Passport Students can share their own ideas only after they have accurately paraphrased the person who spoke before them. x
Take a Stance and Stand in LineA statement is announced and students take a stand on an imaginary line that stretches across the room, creating a continuum from strongly agree to strongly disagree.x Students along the line express their point of view while other students listen.x Then fold the line in one of two ways and have each student pair up with another student and listen to the person they are paired with.x Have students paraphrase the viewpoint offered.

Collaborative ResearchxxxStudents will research, present background information, hold a class discussion, visit the library, and interview local guest speakers or conduct email interview with experts.

Divide the class into teams of four students. xList and describe each task needed to conduct the research project. xAssign each student a job title and a task to accomplish.

Managerto keep the team on task
Writerto record results and to make sure everyone agrees
Presenterto explain the team's answer to the rest of the class
Checkerto make sure everyone understands their assignments
optional:Encouragerto make sure everyone participates
Artistto advise in the presentation of materials
Getting the Research Started     I require the students to look in at least five sources.  These must include one reference from the school library, an encyclopedia (either text book reference or Encarta), and at least two sources from the Internet.  The other source is the student's options.   I also strongly recommend spending time in advance of the research with the students showing them how to take notes and properly copy bibliography information.   If interested, you may see the handouts which include Bibliography Entries, List of References, and the Instructions for Note Taking that I give my students when researching.
The Research     I spend one or two periods in class talking about bibliography documentation and note taking.  If you have a class textbook that can be used as a reference, I go through that step by step in writing a bibliography.  Then, I allow three or four periods to gather notes.
A Treasury of Internet Resources     A list of sites on the Internet is included to give the students a starting point for their research.
PopulationP x Brad Bowerman's provides an excellent collection of immigration data, population maps, world population timelines, graphs, quizzes, and slides.
Population Clocks P xThe U.S. Census Bureau has two population clocks, one for the U.S. and one for the world. xWatch how quickly the counter changes.
UN WireP xUN Wire provides a concise daily summary of key news stories from around the world including global affairs and key international issues in health, environment and sustainable development, population, international human rights, refugees, peacekeeping, and security.
UN CyberSchoolBus P xCurrent issues and topics of local and global importance are highlighted such as human rights, health, land mines, environment, poverty, and peacekeeping. xIncludes teaching units with teacher's guide.
Your Nation P xDrawing from the CIA Factbook and other sources, this tool allows you to compare characteristics for two countries, find the top and bottom five countries for any characteristic, or summarize data for a particular country.x There are more than 80 characteristics to choose from, ranging from literacy to transportation to technology.
World FactbookP xProvides country listing, field listing, reference maps, appendixes, guide to country profiles, History of The World Factbook
InfoNationP xUN CyberSchoolBus presents an up-to-date global database of statistics to help students compare the population growth of countries, the energy consumption, average temperature, or literacy rate for all 185 member states of the United Nations.
Mr. Dowling's Electronic PassportP xMike Dowling, sixth grade teacher in Palm Beach County, Florida, provides links about different people and cultures around the world.x Educators can download lessons and homework assignments.
Geography Resources from P xIncludes population info, maps, cultural geography, photos.
Capitals.ComP xInformation, maps, weather and live views of capitals and countries around the world
Altapedia OnlineP xProvides facts and statistical data on geography, climate, people, religion, language, history, and economy of countries
E-Conflict World Encyclopedia P x"Eradicate conflict by increasing cultural awareness." Includes anthems, flags, maps, history, weather, geography, government, and economic information
United Nations P xGo to the main web site or to a specific area of interest
P UN Social Indicators Statistics
P xUN Human Rights Information
P xUN Humanitarian Affairs Postings
P xUN Peacekeeping Data
P x UN Economic and Social Development Reports (on topics ranging from narcotics trade to environmentalism and crime prevention)
Xpeditions @ P xOver 600 maps from all over the world.x Just click to a state, province, country, or continent. xDesigned for printing and copying.
National Geographic Society Map MachineP xMaps, flags, facts, and the latest updates to keep your Atlas of the World current.
Art and Life in Africa Online xxxUThis is the main webpage for the University of Iowa website containing information about African Art and Culture. xTopics include:
Key moments in life
Country Resources
People Resources
Art in Life in Africa Project
University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental ResearchP x Interactive Maps section highlights the potential of the WWW. xFun to use.
MapQuest!P xElectronic mapping engine by GeoSystems, Inc.
3D Atlas Onlinexxx The ultimate geographic resource!x You'll find the best research links for every country, timely world news, the coolest free downloads, and our own Geographic Glossary.
Africa News ServiceP incorporates Africa News Online, everyday posting nearly 400 stories from more than 60 African publications.
BBC - Africa NewsP xA focus on the news of Africa

Email Inquiry xxxNo matter how much research students do, it is still hard to get rid of preconceived stereotypes in our minds.  It was just as surprising to my friends in America that I saw no lions in West Africa as it was to my Liberian friends that I'd never seen a policeman shoot a criminal on the streets of America.  These kinds of misconceptions can be clarified with some interaction of the students with African or African-American poets, writers, playwrights, novelists, dancers, singers, musicians, doctors, and scientists.  Many people willing to give students a cross-cultural experience can be located on the Internet.  It just takes some patient searching.  

In addition to these adult resources, students can now use the Internet to possibly contact other students in Africa and ask specific questions about their lives and cultures.  Hook up with another class online through AfricaQuest, Global Schoolnet, the Email Classroom Exchange, or the Intercultural Email Classroom Exchange for students to find out first hand information from their peers.

Back to the Computer Lab xxxI recommend students create a collaborative web page from their research.x If that is not an option, PowerPoint or HyperStudio can be used for excellent demostrations.x And, if you find yourself in a techonology deprived situation, the students could create posters to supplement their research for the presentation.

When the note-taking is completed, students need to roughly plan on paper the information they intend to put on each page of their presentation. x They need to be very specific about what information will go on which page so everyone knows who is responsible for what.x It works much better if this is done before they set foot in the computer lab. x Then, take the students back to the computer lab to begin work on their collaborative presentations.  I require at least eight pages so that will take several days in the lab.x As a general rule of thumb, after the students learn how to make a page, they can make one page in a period. xIf they work at individual computers, it will also take time to put all of their work together in one site.

Page one is an introduction page that shows a map of the region and says something like "Women's Issues in West Africa" along with the name of each member in the group.x Page two provides an introduction to the issue researched along with a table of contents for the information covered in the presentation.x Pages three to seven are for the presentation of the researched material.x Page eight is the bibliography.

Have one student make the title page and a page of research.x Another student should make the table of contents page along with a page of information.x A third student should make the bibliography page and an information page.x The final student needs to make two pages of researched information.x Obviously, if there is lots of information gathered, students may choose to prepare more than two pages.

Class Presentation     Be sure to have a map of Africa in the classroom when the students give their presentations.   Do not plan to have all of the presentations in one day.  As important as it is for the students to present well, it is also important for them to be good listeners.  You don't want class to get restless.

Assessment     This rubric may be used for self-assessment and peer feedback. xThe project grade could be based upon this evaluation scale.

Bushmask2j.jpg (2229 bytes)Activity One
Bushmask2j.jpg (2229 bytes)Activity Three
Bushmask2j.jpg (2229 bytes)Standards