Frontline World









Ties to Literature

Give Us Your Feedback


Problems Printing?

Image from the story Examine the Global Land Mine Crisis

Target Grade Levels:
Grades 7-12

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

The Activity

Show students the FRONTLINE/World interactive map, Land Mines: An Enduring Danger. Discuss what land mines are and the areas of the world where land mines are a problem. What conflicts brought about the use of land mines in these areas? How do these land mines continue to affect people long after wars end?

Tell students that a Belgian man working in Tanzania, Bart Weetjens, has come up with a novel way to address the issue of clearing mine fields. Then, show them Tanzania: Hero Rats (length: 10:38), using the Video Discussion Questions below to focus student viewing.

After the video, talk about how Weetjens was initially laughed at when he suggested training rats to help clear mine fields, but that his persistence eventually secured the financial support he needed to prove his idea. (See the FRONTLINE/World interview with Weetjens for details).

Conclude the activity by you or student pairs reading and discussing U.S. policy on land mines, as outlined on the U.S. State Department Web site. Do students believe that the U.S. policy is appropriate? Why or why not?

back to top

Video Discussion Questions

  • What characteristics of African giant pouch rats make them suited for detecting land mines?
  • What benefits have the rats provided to the people of Africa?
  • Why does Bart Weetjens consider the rats to be heroes?


back to top

Taking it Further

Use the FRONTLINE/World feature, More Hero Animals to find out how the U.S. Navy trains dolphins to locate and mark underwater mines, and how researchers are studying how honeybees could be used for land mine detection. 

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).

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.
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.

World History, Standard 45:
Understands major global trends since World War II.

back to top