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MARK RABALAIS
First Place

9-12 | Social Studies | Digital Storytelling

Station WLPB in Louisiana

My Classroom Innovation

Students were involved with a project based learning unit that involved investigating the physical geography of Africa and resulting social or geopolitical problems like desertfication, water scarcity, education, and cultural conflicts. After researching several issues and problems in groups students were to collect data, analyze the region, and identify ways that they could help resolve problems in the area. Students created presentations, commercials, campaigns, and designed school wide fundraisers to help resolve their African Problems.They also worked on mockumentaries after watching actual documentaries of some of the issues depicted in Africa (from PBS). As a World Geography class we had a school wide drive called PH20: Charity, Always Refreshing. The students designed and made shirts that were sold and brought awareness to the scarcity of drinking water in Africa. The PBS Teachers Resource was Eco Challenge: Africa, which offered additional websites and resources including videos.

How Students were Engaged

Students were highly engaged, attentitive, far more socially competant, and responsible then could have ever been expected. They were highly motivated to improve the world around them and as a result raised money for education, healthcare, mosquito nets, war torn areas, and scarcity of resources. We raised over a 1000 dollars as a Geography class to donate towards the construction of a well in Africa. Kids went above and beyond and took a firm control of their learning. They learned the ideals of civil duty and responsibility, becoming more culturally diverse. They had a product to focus on (a goal or objective) and achieved those objectives. They had a true sense of accomplishment and responsibility towards their fellow man. I am sure it is a lesson that they will always remember and the morals learned will guide them for a long time to come.

PBS Program/Content Used

Frontline, NOVA