WebQuest: The Growing Challenge in SenegalPrint this Page
- Subject(s): Social Studies & Geography, Environment & Health, Science
- Region / Country: Africa / Republic of Senegal
- Grade Level(s): 6–8, 9–12
- Related Publication: WebQuest | The Growing Challenge in Senegal
- Duration: 2-3 class sessions
In this science-based WebQuest, students explore the issue of soil fertility and its impact on agriculture. Working in teams, students take the role of Senegalese farming families who must design an optimal rotation for their crops in declining soil conditions. After viewing the video "The Growing Challenge in Senegal," students conduct guided web-based research on soil fertility and agriculture. Students use the information they have collected to design a strategic 3-year plan for planting their fields.
- USDA—Natural Resources Conservation Service—Soil Education
- The GLOBE Program—Teacher's Guide—Soil
- NASA—Soil Science Education
More About Senegal
- Peace Corps—Where Do Volunteers Go?—Senegal
- Peace Corps—World Wise Schools—Destination: Senegal (video)
- CIA—The World Factbook—Senegal
- Data Collection Pages and accompanying Educator Key
- 3-Year Planting Plan and accompanying Example Solutions
- Evaluation rubric
- Students will describe the global importance of soil fertility for agriculture.
- Students will explain the practices of crop rotation and intercropping, and the utility of these strategies for farmers.
- Students will draw from multiple information sources to propose a response to a real-world problem.
- Baleeri: local name (in Gourel Yoba, Senegal) of soil that is heavy and able to hold water
- Crop rotation: Planting a crop from one family on a field during a season, then strategically planting a crop from a different family on that field the next season
- Desertification: The deterioration of the land due to loss of vegetation and soil moisture
- Intercropping: Strategically planting two or more crops from different families on a field during the same season
- Kenyeri: local name (in Gourel Yoba, Senegal) of light soil that holds little water
- Internet access
- Computer access for the WebQuest
- Introduce students to the idea of a WebQuest (see Background Information ). Explain that they will be working to collect information and propose a response to a real-world problem.
- Explain that the WebQuest features two Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Senegal. If students are not familiar with Peace Corps, provide some background information from peacecorps.gov.
- Open the WebQuest. As a whole class, review the Introduction and Task sections. Demonstrate how to navigate between the pages of the WebQuest.
- Allow students to work at computers in pairs or small groups. Distribute Data Collection Pages to each student (see Worksheets ). Students will work in their groups, proceeding through Steps 1-4 of the WebQuest. They will record information as directed on the Data Collection Pages.
- As a whole group, view the Step 5 slides of the WebQuest slideshow (slides 18-19). This step reintroduces their task: to create a 3-year plan for their fields, using crop rotation or intercropping as a strategy for maintaining soil nutrients.
- Distribute the 3-Year Planting Plan (see Worksheets ) and markers to each group. Read the instructions and planting guidelines on Page 1. Answer any questions students may have about completing the task.
- At tables, have students work in small groups to develop their three-year planting plans.
- As groups finalize their plans, students may complete the planting plan summary on the last page of the 3-Year Planting Plan. They should review the planting guidelines
- Ask groups to share their plans with one another. Encourage students to ask questions of other groups and to be prepared to explain the rationale for their plans. Some questions could include:
- Which cash and food crops did you choose to grow the most? Why?
- Were there any crops you chose not to grow? Why?
- What are the advantages/disadvantages of growing only one type of crop?
- Why do you think your plan will be successful?
- Return to the WebQuest. Proceed to the Evaluation slide (slide 20). Distribute copies of the evaluation rubric (see Worksheets ), and students to evaluate their group's work.
- Proceed to the Conclusion slide (slide 21) and discuss the reflection questions.
- As a laboratory activity, conduct an N-P-K soil fertility test using soil samples from your area. What are the levels of these three nutrients in your local soil? You may follow the guidelines provided in the GLOBE Soil Fertility Protocol.
- Access other World Wise Schools resources related to soil and agriculture, including When Success is Truly Sweet (Bolivia); Fighting Soil Erosion (Guinea); Madagascar Adventure; and the Peace Corps Challenge Online Game ( Barren Fields Challenge and Agroforestry Challenge ). Use these resources to identify agricultural issues in various parts of the world, and compare the kinds of solutions that global communities are employing.
Framework and Standards
- Knowledge about soil science is critical for food production
- Many factors contribute to agricultural decision-making
- Climate and resource availability influence agricultural strategies
- Why are soil nutrients important?
- How does the depletion of soil nutrients impact agricultural communities?
- How can scientific knowledge be used to solve real-world problems?
- Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry
- Content Standard B: Physical Science
- Content Standard C: Life science
- Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
- Essential Element II: Places and Regions
- Essential Element III: Physical Systems
- Essential Element V: Environment and Society
- Thematic Strand III: People, Places, and Environment
- Thematic Strand VIII: Science, Technology, and Society
- Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections