Learning Outcomes: A look at Continent Studies in Elementary

Sawubona! Jambo! As-Salaam-Alaikum! Bonjour! Hello!

Did you know that there are an estimated 1500 – 2000 different languages spoken in Africa? This is just one of the amazing facts that Elementary students learned during our study of this diverse and fascinating continent. Each year, our students enjoy taking part in the school wide continent study, and this year was no exception. On Thursday, they hosted two African Street Fairs to share their learning: one for Primary students during the school day, and one for parents during the evening. Read more about the learning process students went through in preparation for this exciting event below.

Elementary teachers collaboratively planned the Africa study using the Understanding by Design model. This model starts with “big picture” understandings that are transferable to other learning, frames these understandings using essential questions that foster inquiry and deep thinking, and then breaks learning goals down into factual knowledge and applied skills.

Students received several whole group lessons about Africa in order to lay the foundation for their independent work, and then broke into small groups to study a country in a specific region of Africa:

  • LE 1 – Southern Africa (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania)

  • LE 2 – Central Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria)

  • UE – Northern Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco/Western Sahara, Sudan, Tunisia)

In their small groups, students created idea webs with questions and information they were interested in learning about their country. They divided up these subtopics and then took notes from books about their countries. They organized their notes into cohesive paragraphs or lists, and then published them on the computer. Once this written component was complete, they created a visual display for the Street Fair. They prepared short oral presentations and practiced presenting to each other. Finally, they evaluated their work using a rubric. On the day of the Street Fair, they confidently shared their knowledge with their audience, and the results were impressive!

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Wellan Montessori School

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Newton Centre, MA 02459

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