A Voyage to West Africa:


    The Gambia


            This map was found at www.maps.com

  • Author: Chandra Chipman
    Grade Level: Early Elementary 




    The students will illustrate and provide a caption for a picture that compares and contrasts the United States to Gambia.




    1. The book, Boundless Grace, by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Caroline Binch. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 1995.
    2. Paper and crayons for the students' illustrations
    3. A world globe and/or a world map




    1. Anticipatory Set- Ask the students if they have ever had to travel a long distance to visit family or friends. Ask them where they went and what it was like. Talk about what it would be like to go to a place different from what they are used to.


    2. Read the book, Boundless Grace.


    3. Present a world globe and/or a world map to the class and point out where the students are in America and compare it to where Grace was when she visited Gambia.


    4. Using Boundless Grace, ask the students questions about the similarities and the differences that they saw in the book between Gambia and the United States. Possible discussion questions: "What are the similarities of family life?  What might be some differences?  What was the clothing like in Gambia?  What is the city life like in Gambia?  What makes it different from the United States?  What other similarities are there?"


    5. Explain to the students that they are now going to illustrate and describe four pictures, two that compare and two that contrast what they learned about Gambia to the United States. Have the students think back to the questions that were just discussed and answered. Then have the students fold a blank sheet of paper into four, square sections. The top two squares will be used for comparing the countries and the bottom two will be used for contrasting. On the left squares, have the students illustrate a scene representing Gambia and on the right squares, have the students illustrate a scene representing the United States.


    6. When the students have finished their illustrations, have them share in small groups or with the entire class.


    7. To close this lesson, ask the students why they think we learned about the Gambia. Hopefully there will be responses like- even though Gambia is a long ways away and different from what we are used to in the United States, it is also very similar. Ask the students how this can help us here in our own classroom, school, or country. Focus on the acceptance and appreciation of others and their differences. Help the students see that even though we are all very different from one another, we all have things in common that bring us together. These are things like the need for food, shelter, family, and friends. It is so important for students to see each other's similarities and be accepting of the differences that we all have.




    Assess the students' illustrations.


    Some valuable resources on Gambia can be found at these addresses:



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