Things you should know before teaching this lesson


Author: Monte Blackburn

Grade Level: Early Elementary


Students will identify similarities and differences between Rehema's life and culture, and their own.

Materials Needed:

  1. The book, Rehema's Journey--A Visit in Tanzania, by Barbara A. Margolies.
  2. A map of Tanzania within Africa.
  3. Various pictures of African wildlife: Zebras, Rhinoceroses, Hippopotamuses, Giraffes, Lions, Tigers, etc.


1. Focus the students by telling them that they are going to be learning about a little girl about their age, named Rehema. Tell them that Rehema is much like them. She goes to school and learns math, reading, writing, and art. She has friends and has chores around the house. Point out that she doesn't live in America, but in a land very far away.

2. Start the lesson by asking the students what they think of when they hear Africa. Point out that many people don't understand Africa very well. Well, we are going to learn about a very neat part of Africa today. We're going to learn about Tanzania and the wonderful people who live there.

3. Read the story and have the students identify the similarities and differences they have with Rehema and her culture. The students may write short notes to remind them later when they do their Data Retrieval Chart. Some examples the students may come up with are:

4. One you get to the part in the story where Rehema and her father enter the wildlife park, have the students focus their attention on the animals they encounter (you may use the pictures of the animals here). How is Rehema's wildlife park experience different from zoo experiences the children have had? (She gets to ride among the animals.) Finish the story. Point out that the parks are for the visitor's enjoyment, but also for the animal's safety. One example is the fact that many people like to hunt rhinos for their horns. The parks are there, in part, to help save the rhinos.

5. After a brief discussion with the students about the ideas they came up with, have them complete the Data Retrieval Chart. You may use the one below, or you can have the students construct their own.





Wildlife Park








Conclude the lesson by stating that even though someone lives far away in a different country there are still many wonderful similarities between us and them in this classroom. Point out also that there are differences. It is those differences that make our lives so unique.



Assess each student's understanding by evaluating their responses to the similarities and differences between themselves and Rehema on the Data Retrieval Chart.


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 Background: Things You Should Know Before Teaching This Lesson

Rehema's Journey--A Visit in Tanzania

This is a book about a young girl, Rehema, who lives in a small village up in the mountains of Tanzania, and her first trip away from home. She gets to visit the great wildlife refuge park where her father works as a tour guide. This book is about her journey and the many things she sees along the way. You should know the following concepts before reading the book and doing the lesson accompanied with it.

1. Rehema lives with her family in the mountains of Tanzania. They grow maize, bananas, and beans on their farm.

2. Rehema lives in a new cement house. Before the cement house, they lived in a house made of cow dung and mud. Her mother still uses their old house of cooking.

3. Her father recently put new water pipes leading down to the house. Before the water pipes, they had to carry water down the mountain without spilling any.

4. Her father teaches about wild animals and plants in game parks. He is a tour guide and that is where Rehema and her father are going.

5. They have to go by bus, which is hot and crowded. Along the way, they see people washing their clothes in a stream. She also sees a school made of cement that looks just like her school back home.

6. In school, Tanzanian children learn to read, write, and do math in Swahili. They also learn how to plant and care for fruit, flowers, vegetables, and tea and coffee bushes.

7. With the money the school children earn from selling their plants and vegetables at market, they buy chalk, pencils, and paper for school.

8. People in Tanzania use sticks called Miswaki for brushing their teeth. They chew on the end of the stick and it becomes a very fine toothbrush.

9. Unlike zoos of America, Rehema and her father get to drive right through the wildlife game park. She sees lions, zebras, ostriches, elephants, wilde beasts, cheetahs, hippopotamuses, and rhinoceroses.

10. The park is there, in part, to help protect the rhinoceroses, because some people like to kill them just to get their horns.


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