Peace Corps Challenge Game—Soil Runoff
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- Subject(s): Social Studies & Geography, Environment & Health, Cross-Cultural Understanding
- Region / Country: Africa
- Grade Level(s): 6–8, 9–12
- Related Publication: Peace Corps Challenge Game
When the ground is saturated or impermeable to water during heavy rains or snow melt, excess water flows over the surface of the land until it eventually collects in low spots such as ponds, rivers or lakes. This is called runoff. Students will explore several ways in which the lake at Wanzuzu can be protected from further soil run-off and how as a Peace Corps Volunteer they could help their community. The following teacher suggestions are designed to enhance the students learning while focusing on one of the challenges (soil runoff) addressed in the Peace Corps Challenge on-line game.
Most students have seen how water flows downhill and how it often transports litter or dirt. One way that we can help control the amount of runoff is through vegetation. Vegetation helps hold the soil in place and acts as a natural filter. In the case of the village of Wanzuzu the farm was expanded and much of the land in between the lake and the farm has been cleared. This has resulted in the removal of the natural vegetation that helped keep the soil in place during rainfall. Without this vegetation all this soil along with the chemicals used for fertilizing the crops at the farm has run down hill and entered the lake. When humans settle and develop land, water quality is affected. In order for the lake in Wanzuzu to remain clean the village needs to address the negative factors in the area around the lake.
- After the students have played the Wanzuzu challenge create a discussion on their initial thoughts of the village. What do they like about it? What do they think the way of life would be like for them if they lived there? What would they do for fun? Where would they get their drinking water? How would they transport it to their homes? Where would they store their daily supply in their house? What do they think of the current situation with the village's source for clean drinking water?
- Explain to the students that to be a successful Peace Corps volunteer you need to be able to focus on the facts, think of solutions, and find ways to make them happen. What are the facts represented in the game? How many people live in the village? What are the problems with the water in the lake? Where does the water from the lake come from? What is Algae Bloom? Are their other sources for clean drinking water in the village? If you were a Peace Corps volunteer, and Wanzuzu was your village, what would you do?
- Have the students form groups of 4 and together brainstorm what they feel is the cause of the problem, how you as a Peace Corps Volunteer should handle it, and what the best solution would be? How would you as the Peace Corps Volunteer find the resources needed for the solution? One student should keep notes and be prepared to discuss their ideas with the class.
- Have one spokesperson from each group be the Peace Corps Volunteer and share their ideas on how to help their neighbors in Wanzuzu.
- If possible invite a returned Peace Corps Volunteer to visit your class and even take part in the discussion.