We. Went. To. Africa…Part 4!
Told ya this trip to West Africa would be a whirlwind of a time! Yesterday, we explored Mauritania, Mali and Senegal. Today we continue on to the Gambia, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau! ☺️
So get your bearings, ’cause you’re in for a great time!
Trip #1: The Gambia
Stop! Take a look around you! What time is it? What are you doing at this very moment? Well, if you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably wondered at least once in your life what someone was doing at that very moment, on the other side of the world. In the book, At the Same Moment, Around the World by Clotilde Perrin, you’ll find out what’s happening in over 24 different time zones…at the same time! I know we went to Senegal yesterday, but I thought you’d like to know it makes a brief appearance again in this book. And since we’re visiting the Gambia today, well, we’re practically still in Senegal! 😉 Check a map with your kiddos and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Recycle! Reuse! Reduce!
The endearing story of the recycling women of the Gambia is recounted in One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul. In it, you’ll hear the story of how one woman changed a whole community. Because of this determined lady, her actions have and will continue to impact generations to come!
As an added bonus, after reading this book, the girls and I did some brainstorming about ways we can help our environment in our every day lives through recycling and conservation. Though it was last Saturday, don’t let the festivities of Earth Day pass you by just yet. You and your crew can have a hand in preserving our earth for a long time to come!
Need I say more?! 💃🏾
Trip #2: Burkina Faso
Two-thirds of the Earth is water. Water IS everywhere. Water IS a necessity! But, let’s face it, in many parts of the world today, it’s also a luxury. Many countries are hit hard with drought and/or unclean water. You’ll be introduced to this very struggle in The Water Princess by Susan Verde and model Georgie Badiel (who is the real-life inspiration of this harrowing tale). Princess Gie Gie envisions a day when the clean water will come to her. She’s hopeful for when her miles-long, daily marches to obtain clean water will end. The same can be said for millions of people all over the world, even now! Oh great day that will be!
At the Waterworks
For those 80’s babies out there, no science lesson is complete without making mention of the Magic School Bus! We continued with a visit to the water works with the Frizz to see the water purification system in our context.
** This was a great follow up to our field trip last school year to Philadelphia’s Waterworks facility. Check your area to see if there’s one available to see the process up close and personal.
Do It Yourself
It’s evident that we can’t get around the topic of water on this trip to Burkina Faso. It’s so important. I really wanted to bring home to my girls its significance in all our lives. After hearing how the heart of one first grader blossomed into Ryan’s Well, my girls and I began thinking through ways we can too. His efforts have are now impacting thousands of lives for more than a decade! Our plans are still in the works, to be continued…
Bonus experiment: Make Your Own Water Filter!
Check out this cool experiment you can do at home. If you’re on Facebook, here’s a video of our own attempt at a water filtration system.
If not, the picture of ours is right up there. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks! 😝
Trip #3: Guinea-Bissau
Salute the flag!
I haven’t introduced it in this series yet, but in all actuality, for every African country we study, my second-grader is tasked with the responsibility of drawing the flag and copying a few lines of pre-written facts (that I select) about that country. I usually have her take a blank peace of paper and draw it free hand using a picture of it for reference. She writes the name of the country at the top, colors it and then copies the facts. Hope she doesn’t get mad at me in 10 years for sharing this (lol), but here’s a snippet of one of hers so you can see what I mean.
We couldn’t talk about the needs for clean water without leaving you with hope in the actual context of one of these areas of need. Here’s an inspiring video about the people of Guinea-Bissau using rainwater harvesting techniques!
It’s never too late to learn or re-learn (for some of us 😉) the water cycle.
Here’s my attempt at illustrating the water cycle for my kiddos, I’m sure you can google or Pinterest (my fave!) a model of your own. ☺️
And then, what better way to end this exciting trip with a fun game of Simon Says…Show Me Evaporation & Precipitation?! It’s simple and easy, and probably can be made up on the fly. For “evaporation”, the kids can either raise their hands or jump up. For “precipitation/rain”, they’d do the opposite. I’m sure the bigger and bolder the movements, the better! 😂
Thanks for traveling with us! I hope you’re learning a lot and enjoying your time. Stay a little longer in any country you wish or feel free to skip the sights you don’t need to see again. The fun of this travel series is in how it works for you! 🎉
Check us out tomorrow as we round out our time in West Africa with visits to Liberia 🇱🇷, Ghana 🇬🇭 and Nigeria 🇳🇬!