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Image from the story Identify Common Steps Taken by Social Entrepreneurs

Target Grade Levels:
Grades 7-12

• The Activity
• Video Discussion Questions
• Taking It Further
• Connections to Curriculum Standards

The Activity

Show students where Cambodia is on a map. Explain that an intense period of war and genocide in Cambodia nearly extinguished the country's ancient silk-making traditions. This practice is now enjoying a revival, however, thanks to the persistence and passion of Japanese textile craftsman Kikuo Morimoto.

Show the class the FRONTLINE/World story, Cambodia: The Silk Grandmothers (length: 12:44) and have students note their answers to the Video Discussion Questions as they watch.

Afterwards, have students use their notes from the Video Questions, the story summary, and the interview with Kikuo Morimoto to create a flow chart, timeline, or linear string (see PDF example) that shows step-by-step how Morimoto revived the art of silk-making and provided a source of income for impoverished Cambodian textile artisans. Point out that Morimoto followed a pattern common among social entrepreneurs: He recognized a social problem, developed an innovative approach, mobilized resources and partners, remained persistent, and built a viable organization to handle ongoing activities. Discuss also how mentoring, using natural materials and methods, and responding to marketplace demands has contributed to the overall quality of the studio’s products and its growing success.

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Video Discussion Questions

Focus student viewing of Cambodia: The Silk Grandmothers (length: 12:44) with the following questions:

  • Why did Cambodia’s silkmaking tradition almost disappear?
  • Who was still knowledgeable about Cambodia’s silkmaking tradition? How did Morimoto find these craftspeople?
  • What were Morimoto’s goals for his silk production studio?
  • Why might it be important to preserve a cultural tradition like silkmaking?
  • How could silkmaking change the lives of some Cambodians?

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Taking it Further

Delve deeper into Cambodia’s history by watching the FRONTLINE/World story, Cambodia: Pol Pot’s Shadow and exploring its companion Web site resources. Discuss how Morimoto's efforts to revive the Cambodian art of silk production contribute to Cambodia’s renewal and healing.

Connections to Curriculum Standards

These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge, a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning).

Behavioral Studies, Standard 2:
Understands various meanings of social group, general implications of group membership, and different ways that groups function.

Level III, Benchmark 6:
Understands how language, literature, the arts, architecture, other artifacts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behaviors contribute to the development and transmission of culture.
Business Education, Standard 15:
Knows unique characteristics of an entrepreneur.
Level IV, Benchmark 2:
Knows that entrepreneurship relates to the capacity to take responsibility for one’s own future, to initiate creative ideas, develop them, and to carry them through into action in a determined manner.
Geography, Standard 10:
Understands the nature and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics.

Language Arts, Standard 9:
Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.

World History, Standard 44:
Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world.

Level III, Benchmark 2:
Understands influences on economic development around the world.
World History, Standard 45:
Understands major global trends since World War II.
Level IV, Benchmark 2:
Understands causes of economic imbalances and social inequalities among the world's peoples and efforts made to close these gaps.

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