2008-01-23 / School News

BCMS students explore Africa

From Staff Reports

Johnson Whitfield and Bobby Williams take a look at instruments made in the West African region. BOE -  AMY NUNNALLY Johnson Whitfield and Bobby Williams take a look at instruments made in the West African region. BOE - AMY NUNNALLY June Powell's seventh-grade social studies students at Burke County Middle School began an interactive study of Africa by imagining they would open a Cultural Arts Center in Waynesboro/Burke County.

After researching the traditions and cultures of Western and Central Africa, the students prepared multimedia presentations of their Cultural Arts Center's website, which illustrated the masks, music, folk tales, textiles and dance of the area.

The culminating project was a walk through an interactive museum in the garden of BCMS orchestrated by Kelli Bracci, an education major from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

The tour began with multimedia presentations and dramatic photos of women wearing lip plates. The exhibit was filled with artifacts, such as elaborate masks, authentic drums and colorful Kente cloth, from Western and Central Africa. The children viewed the fantasy coffins used in West and Central Africa, comparing this knowledge to past studies of Egypt. In addition, the students created beadwork to represent their life, based on the meaning of the bead colors in Africa.

After this interactive museum, the students reflected on the fruits of their labor with cheese, grapes and sparkling cider.

In seventh-grade social studies, Georgia's students conclude the study of major world regions by focusing on Africa and Asia. The four strands are integrated, with history as the central strand of the Georgia Performance Standards. The history strand focuses on historical developments essential to understanding a specific region in the modern world. The geography strand relates the importance of geography to each region's development.

This activity ties directly into the three-year Georgia Learn and Serve Grant that BCMS was awarded. Georgia Learn and Serve is part of Learn and Serve America, a program funded with grants from the Corporation for National Service.

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