This winter, Grade 1 students took an extensive look at the rich culture of Ghana. They began first by reading and listening to folktales from various cultures around the world, zeroing in on the Anansi stories of West Africa. The Anansi spider stories captured the imagination of Grade 1 children and sparked discussions about story elements such as character, setting, and plot. With those story elements fresh in their minds, students dove further into one country in West Africa to learn more about a culture within which the Anansi stories were set. Students also became "world travelers," embarking on a virtual trip to Ghana to learn about geography, culture, and traditions, complete with their own passports and suitcases.
Through this unit of study, children learned to identify and respect similarities and differences, gained exposure to early mapping concepts, and explored images and artifacts to learn new information. Students loved creating maps of the biomes of Africa, crafting woven paper kente cloth, designing adinkra stamps, making bracelets using recycled glass beads from Ghana, and listening to different kinds of Ghanaian music. The unit builds on Grade 1 students' natural curiosity about the world around them and helps them develop habits of inquiry, open-mindedness, and reflection that they will use in social studies work throughout their time in the Lower School.