Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life and Death

The bellwork today dealt with a story we read about in our book.  Ibn Battuta was a Muslim traveler, trader, and historian who crossed the Sahara.  He wrote about his travels, much like Marco Polo.  While in the Sahara, Battuta couldn't find water, so they killed some camels and drank the water from their stomachs.  I asked the students if they would have drank the water or not.  It was about 50-50 throughout the day - with two classes coming out to an exact tie at 14-14 and 13-13.  (As the deciding vote, I voted in favor of keeping my life and drinking the water...)

We also read about the Wangarans.  These people knew where the gold mines were, and they kept the locations a secret.  Every once in a while, someone would kidnap a Wangaran miner and try to get him to talk.  The book says, "The miners would give their lives rather than reveal the secret."  (page 150)  I asked the students what they would do in this case.  Most everyone said they would choose death as well, as their families would face certain doom if they caved.  Besides, the other Wangarans might kill them for telling anyway.  Lets face it, it'd be a bad situation all around.  (I'm working on a screen play...)

There were several words that were tripping up students.  I thought I'd throw in some pictures to help them out.  Here's a caravan:

camel caravan
Photo Credit: Click Here

A lot of students didn't understand about ivory, so here are some carved tusks:
carved tusks

Photo Credit: Click Here

I showed them cowrie shells yesterday - which were used as money, but here they are again:

Photo credit: Click Here ...I think you can buy these...

At any rate, we had some interesting discussions going on...    We talked about the differences between the game and what actually happened.

In order to get the extra credit today, adults at home and students discuss the blog.  Maybe you could ask what you would each do in those life or death situations mentioned above.  You could explain how the game differed from the trans-Saharan trade.  (It didn't take two months to cross the carpet, for instance...)  Or you could discuss other stuff from class today.

When you're done discussing, have the adult sign a piece of paper with the following quote: "Rats, not 101 again..."  Make sure your name is on that paper as well.

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