is the focus of this module?
module focuses on the population of mountain gorillas living in
the central highland area of Africa. The module looks at human activity
around the gorilla habitat and how that activity is threatening
the survival of the remaining 300 gorillas.
are some interrelated teaching opportunities?
While not a
new way of looking at teaching, teaching across the curriculum (also
called "integrating the curriculum" and "creating
an interdisciplinary curriculum"), has recently received a
great deal of attention. (Humphreys,
Post, and Ellis 1981)
describe an integrated
curriculum as "one in which children broadly explore knowledge
in various subjects related to certain aspects of their environment"
(p. 11). The Dictionary of Education definition of "interdisciplinary
curriculum" is similar: "a curriculum organization which
cuts across subject-matter lines to focus upon comprehensive life
problems or broad based areas of study that bring together the various
segments of the curriculum into meaningful association" (Good
1973). By linking the natural sciences with the humanities,
communication arts, mathematics, social studies, music, and visual
and performing arts, skills and knowledge are developed and applied
in more than one area of study.
As ambitious as these
goals seem, experience has shown that as teachers become increasingly
involved in teaching across the curriculum, they see new connections
they had not seen before. As they develop learning experiences and
assessments built around these new connections, students also begin
to see the connections. This understanding leads to more successful
learning. For those ETE teachers who want to to teach across
the curriculum by linking up with teachers of subject areas beyond
the sciences, the "Mountain Gorillas" module offers an
The ETE "Mountain Gorillas" module richly supports
the Ten Thematic
Strands in Social Studies identified by the National Council
for the Social Studies:
2. Time, Continuity,
3. People, Places,
4. Individual Development
Groups, and Institutions
6. Power, Authority,
Distribution, and Consumption
8. Science, Technology,
9. Global Connections
10. Civic Ideals
The ETE "Mountain Gorillas" module also supports
Geography Standards, which produce a "geographically informed
person, who sees meaning in the arrangement of things in space and
applies a spatial perspective to life situations." Therefore,
the geographically informed person knows and understands:
The World in Spatial
How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and
technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a
How to use mental maps
to organize information about people, places, and environments in
a spatial context.
How to analyze the spatial
organization of people, places, and environments on earth's surface.
Places and Regions
The physical and human characteristics of places.
That people create regions
to interpret earth's complexity.
How culture and experience
influence people's perceptions of places and regions.
The physical processes that shape the patterns of earth's surface.
The characteristics and
spatial distribution of ecosystems on earth's surface.
The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations
on earth's surface.
distribution, and complexity of earth's cultural mosaics.
The patterns and networks
of economic interdependence on earth's surface.
The processes, patterns,
and functions of human settlement.
How the forces of cooperation
and conflict among people influence the division and control of
Environment and Society
How human actions modify the physical environment.
How physical systems
affect human systems.
The changes that occur
in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.
The Uses of Geography
How to apply geography to interpret the past, present, and plan
for the future.
issues will students encounter as they work through this module?
of the Political Crisis in Rwanda
civil war in Rwanda has caused hundreds of thousands of refugees
to flee that country for neighboring Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC). The trek out of Rwanda has caused many
people to pass through or settle near the Virunga conservation area.
The sudden influx of people into this area has placed tremendous
additional strains on gorilla habitat and survival. How could gorillas
be important to a crowded country during a war?
Clearly, it is in all
conservationists' interests to end the civil strife and genocide
in Rwanda. Less extremist factions in Rwanda have already pressed
for an end to fighting and bloodshed. Uganda and the DRC can assist
this cause by supporting regimes inside Rwanda who can bring a swift
end to the fighting.
Ending the war may also
be accomplished by the intervention of international organizations
such as the United Nations. In the meantime, neighboring Uganda
and Congo can ease the situation by agreeing to relocate refugee
camps away from gorilla habitat (this was agreed to in 1990, but
was not adhered to).
Benefits of Ecotourism and Preservation
Africans have begun to view their natural resources with national
pride. In addition, the realization that short-term economic benefits
can be derived from so-called "ecological tourism" has
generated moderate successes in countries such as Rwanda and the
DRC. Local peoples have seen that the revenue generated from ecotourism
is significant to their economies and it is in their own best interests
to preserve their unique heritage for future generations.
Predictions for the Future
and against the extinction of mountain gorillas can be made. Factors
which may be beneficial or harmful to their long-term survival include
increasing stability or instability of national governments in the
region, improving or declining economic conditions, and the successful
or unsuccessful implementation of ecotourism efforts.
to name an endangered species, people can easily cite animals such
as mountain gorillas and giant pandas. While the efforts to conserve
these "charismatic megafauna" receive widespread public
support in developed nations, less stellar creatures (insects) that
are equally endangered are ignored by the public. But does this
view make ecological sense? By focusing on a single species, we
may lose sight of the importance of the ecosystem that it lives
is different about remote sensing in this module? Geographical
Information Systems (GIS) is a major feature of the "Mountain
Gorillas" module. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is
a method of scientific visualization. Remote sensing images are
combined with spatially-referenced sets of data to provide visual
representations of ecological conditions and distrubances over large
areas of the globe.
Cecklist--have you thought of everything?