Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Africa is a Really Really Big Country, Right? ...And Camels

Yesterday we looked a couple maps - including this one:

We were grading our maps, and discussing trans-Saharan trade and I used this to show

  • the enormity of Africa
  • the enormity of the Sahara Desert
I pointed out that the countries of the United States, China, India, Japan... etc... all fit in Africa - so couldn't we all agree that Africa is a really big country.  Maybe even the biggest country in the world.

Surprisingly 4 of my 6 classes caught it.  Or at least several students caught it and shouted out, "WAIT!  AFRICA'S NOT A COUNTRY!  AFRICA'S A CONTINENT!!!"

I was relieved because I'd given them the continents and oceans test at the beginning of the year.  And it was also on the test we just took.  I did try to word the question in a way that would fool them - but these kids are sharp.

At any rate.  Africa is huge.  HUGE.  And so is the Sahara.  FYI: THE SAHARA would cover the Contiguous United States if you could transport it over here and dump it on us.  ...Although, I'm not sure why you would want to.  Seriously, it'd be a huge financial burden, and I want my tax dollars going toward public education *ahem* no conflict of interest *ahem*  ...At any rate, check the links if you don't believe me.

Today we read about Ibn Battuta - one of my favorite explorers.  If you're reading this for extra credit, tell the adult you're reading with a little about Battuta.  Remember the camel...  The poor, poor, camel.

I had a lot of camel questions from the reading today.  They were questions like:

  • How do you ride a camel?
  • Do camels store water in their hump?
  • Are camels the same as llamas?
  • Can you cut a camel open and live inside of it?
  • One time I saw a movie where...
Sometimes redirecting a class can be difficult - especially when the more interesting aspects of trans-Saharan trade involve getting lost and drinking water from a camel's stomach...

Three classes asked about riding camels though, so here you go:

I think that one's the best, and it's definitely worth the 1:55, but here are a couple other ones as well:

A little shaky, but it's only 16 seconds and you get to see a full caravan and the shadows on the sand of the Sahara - and I LOVE that.  Also, you get a feel for how difficult it would be to navigate through a desert.  Turn left at the big dune...

It's crazy how much good stuff there is on the internet...  And I spend so much of my time refreshing my facebook feed.

If you want credit for reading and discussing today's blog write two sentences from the discussion.  Maybe write something about Ibn Battuta.  Or camels.  Or whether it would be worth it to cross the Sahara to trade.  You could make a lot of money...  but you might also die.  High risk, high reward, as they say.

Then, have the adult you read it with sign the paper.

Turn it in tomorrow.

Have a great day.

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