Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trans-Saharan Trade Expedition!

Students embarked on the journey of a lifetime today pretending to renact the travelers along the trans-Saharan trade network.  Students were split up--half becoming African traders and half becoming Arab traders.  Students chose a new name (African or Arab) and wore name tags to distinguish themselves.  Then, they randomly picked 10 trade items from a paper bag--the Arabs receiving items such as spices, prayer rugs, perfume, and Arabic and the Africans receiving items such as gold, salt, ivory, and yams.  Students continued onto a message board on introducing themselves, their trade items, and their feelings about their travels.  Then, we took off in caravans (named by each team) traveling through the campus, passing the "savanna" (a.k.a. the Quad), and finally reaching our destination, an "oasis" in the "Sahara Desert" (a.k.a. under the shade of trees neighboring the baseball field).  Students used language and gestures to communicate with each other trading items, bargaining, and even some "Muslim traders" stopping for their daily prayers.  After gathering their bounty of goods, we all headed back "home" to reflect in writing on the journey, including the trade items students received and how they might use their items once at home.  They finally voted on the most popular trade items and used Google Translate to write in Arabic something they learned or learned to speak during their trade expedition.  Enjoy the fun-filled day in photos below!

Students began with a new name, 10 trade items, and excitement!

Students wrote about their journey ahead of them on message boards:

The journey begins and the caravans are off!

Students begin their trading and bargaining!

Some Arab and African traders who are "Muslim" take a break from their trading to pray!

Students reflected on their journey once returning home:

Students shared something they learned on their trip using the Arabic language with help from Google Translate and the Arabic numbers from the Languages elective!

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