Module Teaching Guide for A Field Trip to West Africa


This module for students in grades 3-5 complements The Field Museum exhibit, Africa. Students will learn about the diverse cultures and lifestyles of various ethnic groups through stories told by young Africans in present-day Senegal, Nigeria, and Mali. The module focuses on the politics, economics, history, geography, and social systems of these three West African countries. All activities link to the Illinois Learning Standards.

The module, A Field Trip to West Africa, was created with the participation of Chapurukha Makokha Kusimba, Associate Curator, African Archaeology and Ethnology; Elizabeth Babcock, Director of Teacher and Student Programs; and Monica Garcia, Administrator of Teacher Programs of The Field Museum, Chicago; Michael Beck, Linda Comminos, Peter Grafner, Valerie Hardy and Kathy Van Leishout of the Chicago Public Schools; Tammy Haggerty-Jones, Strassburg Elementary School, Sauk Village, Illinois; Ralph A. Austen, Professor of History and Director, The Committee on African and African-American Studies; Julia Borst Brazas, Director of the Chicago WebDocent Project; Erik Brodnax, Department of History, The Committee on African and African-American Studies; and Christie Thomas, Assistant Director, eCUIP Digital Library, University of Chicago.

Aim
Rationale
Audience
Prerequisites
Subject Matter
Materials
Learning Objectives
Instructional Plan
Field Trip Information
Assessment and Evaluation
Resources
Examples of Technology Integration Practices

Aim

This thematic module focuses on the politics, economics, history, geography, and social systems of three West African countries. Students will learn about the diverse cultures and lifestyles of various ethnic groups through stories told by young Africans in present-day Senegal, Nigeria, and Mali. The module was designed to be used as a pre-visit learning experience in conjunction with a field trip to The Field Museum Africa exhibit. The lessons can be used together or individually in any sequence prior to a field trip or to supplement existing curricula on Africa. Please refer to the Instructional Plan section of this guide for information on using the lessons in conjunction with a museum visit.

Rationale

This module seeks to address some of the misconceptions of Africa in order to highlight the diversity of cultures and experiences of present-day Africans. It further intends to prepare students and teachers by providing background knowledge to enhance a field trip experience to The Field Museum.

Audience

This module was developed to address standards for late elementary students; however, anyone interested in learning more about Africa may find it of interest, also.

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Prerequisites

- reading at the 3rd grade level
- use of Internet browsers
- facility using a mouse and keyboarding skills

Subject Matter

The subject matter of this module focuses on three West African countries: Senegal, Nigeria, and Mali. The subject matter includes:

- colonialization of African countries
- economic features of West African countries
- the role of religion, especially Islam
- geographic locations and features
- urban, rural, and nomadic lifestyles of different groups
- cultural diversity of ethnic groups

Software Requirements

Internet-connected computer(s) with the Flash 6 plug-in installed. See the section Examples of Technology Integration Practices for suggestions on how to use the module in the classroom or lab setting.

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Learning Objectives

The lessons are aligned with Illinois Learning Standards for social science and fine arts (State Goals 15, 16, 17, 18, and 27, Stages A, B, C, and D) for grades 3-5. After using the lessons, students will be able to make the following "I can" statements (keep in mind these examples do not represent all of the possible learning outcomes for students):

ILS 15D - I understand trade as an exchange of goods or services.

ILS 15.D.2a - I can explain why people and countries voluntarily exchange goods and services.

ILS 16D - I understand Illinois, United States, and world social history.

ILS 16.D.2 (W) - I can describe the various roles of men, women and children in the family, at work, and in the community in various time periods and places (e.g., ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, ancient China, Sub-Saharan Africa).

ILS 17C - I understand relationships between geographic factors and society.

ILS 17.C.2a - I can describe how natural events in the physical environment affect human activities.

ILS 17.C.2b - I can describe the relationships among location of resources, population distribution and economic activities (e.g., transportation, trade, communications).

ILS 18A - I can compare characteristics of culture as reflected in language, literature, the arts, traditions and institutions.

ILS 18.A.2 - I can explain ways in which language, stories, folk tales, music, media and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture.

ILS 27B - I understand how the arts shape and reflect history, society and everyday life.

ILS 27.B.2 - I can identify and describe how the arts communicate the similarities and differences among various people, places and times.

Instructional Plan

The module was designed to be used as a pre-visit learning experience in conjunction with a field trip to The Field Museum Africa exhibit. The lessons can be used together or individually in any sequence prior to a field trip or to supplement existing curricula on Africa. Each lesson has a teaching guide with suggested pre-visit activities.

The lessons include online journal questions and an interactive dictionary. It is helpful to preview these features before starting the lesson with students.

Before beginning instruction, engage students in activities that build and/or assess prior knowledge, especially with regard to preconceptions about Africa. Work with students to develop some understanding for the concepts and vocabulary they will encounter when reading the lessons. Preparation may involve some research in which students address a general few focus questions and share what they learn with the class.

During the instructional phase, support students' comprehension of the material by periodically engaging the group in critical thinking activities. For example, the lessons include a printable, online journal with essay questions that are intended to be open-ended and thought-provoking. These questions could be used in a group setting to help students reflect on what they are learning. The lessons also include high-resolution images from The Field Museum Africa exhibit that can be "zoomified" for close inspection and discussion using visual thinking strategies. During this phase graphic organizers can be completed as a class activity to review and/or summarize the lesson.

See the following sections Field Trip Information and Assessment and Evaluation for museum-visit and post-visit information.

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Field Trip Information

The Field Museum's Planning Your Field Trip website.

Teacher Checklist for field trip planning.

Assessment and Evaluation

Check the lesson teaching guides for suggested post-visit activities. Refer to the list of Resources below for materials available from The Field Museum and online to include in your post-visit activities.

The lessons include an online journal with questions that teachers can use to faciliate discussion after the museum visit. Each lesson also includes Additional Activities, which are project suggestions that may include research, performance, writing, or art activities. The Web Links section of the lesson will direct students to online research materials available on the eCUIP Digital Library and resources from The Field Museum.

Teachers may also wish to use graphic organizers, summary techniques, and revisit preconceptions activities to evaluate student learning.

Resources

Africa Resources at The Field Museum

The Field Museum Harris Educational Loan Program materials website.

eCUIP Digitial Library website.

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Examples of Technology Integration Practices

Students in Illinois are expected to use appropriate instruments, electronic equipment, computers and networks to access information, process ideas, and communicate results.

Technology today provides a channel through which students can gather knowledge of the past, search information about today and make hypotheses regarding the future. This technology includes databases, computer programs, on-line services and interactive telecommunications. It allows students to gather and process data from a variety of sources, including museums and libraries. Students can share ideas and information not only with their classmates, but with a "virtual classroom" of students from across the world—social science in action.

Computer lab

Seat students in pairs at computers, a strong reader with a student who needs help reading and have them take turns reading together OR seat students singly at computers.

It is helpful for the teacher and/or tech coordinator to start the lesson by reading through a few pages or a section (or have students take turns reading). If there is a projector in the lab, the teacher can also model navigation and interactive elements for students as they go through the first pages as a group.

The lessons include an online journal. Teachers may model note taking, as this is a skill that takes practice. Encourage students to write down anything of interest in their journals as well as unfamiliar terms. Students working in pairs can each type in their answers in the online journal. When more than one student is answering in the journal, they should write their name by their answer to identify their response from others.

Set a goal for students so they read up to a certain point in the lesson or for a certain amount of time, for example, "read up to page 13" or "we will stop in 15 minutes." The progress bar at the top of the screen allows teachers to walk around the room and quickly notice if students are falling behind or moving too fast; it also indicates which pages have an activity the student has not completed, such as a journal question or interactive.

When students reach their assigned goal, stop and ask how students are doing. You could prepare questions related to the content, or simply check in to see if students are having difficulties with navigation or reading.

Depending on the reading level of students, it may take more than one class session to complete a lesson. An approach to completing a lesson if time is a concern is to form groups among your students to read a few sections of the lesson. Then convene the entire class to report on their sections to the rest of the class. In between reports students could make predictions about what will happen next.

Teachers are strongly encouraged to allow for discussion time after the lesson so students can reflect and give feedback on what they learned.

Classroom

One or more workstations in the classroom

Be sure to model navigation and identify interactive features for students before they begin. Arrange students into small groups with the assignment of reading 3 or 4 sections of the lesson. Each group takes turns on the computer/computers to complete their assignment. The group can respond to questions in the online journal, taking turns typing in their answers or responding as a group. (When more than one student is answering in the journal, they should write their name by their answer to identify their response from others.) Convene the entire class to report on their sections to the rest of the class. Reports can take the form of presentations or can be given as a re-enactment of what students read. In between reports ask students to predict what will happen next. Students may be incentivized to have time on the computer alone to read parts of the lesson they did not study as a group.

Teachers are strongly encouraged to allow for discussion time after the lesson so students can reflect and give feedback on what they learned.

One workstation and a projector in the classroom

This arrangement allows for group participation in the lessons. The teacher may lead students through parts of the lesson and ask for volunteer readers from the audience. Students may volunteer to run the mouse, read, or try out the interactives. Many of the lessons are written with multiple voices, and are excellent choices for presenting the lesson like a play with students assigned roles (check lesson teaching guides under instructional uses for lessons that fit this category well). The journal questions can be provided to students beforehand so that they may write down their individual responses during the group session. Students may be incentivized to have time on the computer alone to read the lesson.

As always, teachers are strongly encouraged to allow for discussion time after the lesson so students can reflect and give feedback on what they learned.

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This resource is made possible by funding from the
Chicago Public Schools | University of Chicago Internet Project (CUIP)
and through cooperation with The Field Museum.