Improving Geographical Thinking in the Classroom with the Curriculum Making Model, pp. 4 of 8

Curriculum Artefact

This part of the paper discusses and evaluates a curriculum artefact using the curriculum making model discussed in the literature review. A curriculum artefact is a “key” that opens the door to an issue or an idea of the geographical content or skill to be discussed in the series of curriculum making lessons. An artefact could be resources such as topographical maps, photographs, a video, a song, diagrams, numerical data or text such as news articles or even the geography textbook.  The artefact provides the data for students to interrogate, analyse and develop their geographical thinking in multi-dimensional ways in the lessons (GA, 2012). Teachers as curriculum makers often use such resources in their lessons to engage their students in geographical thinking. Hence, teachers could evaluate how useful their chosen curriculum artefacts are in aiding students to learn geography using the three components in the curriculum making model as shown in
Figure 1: (i) teacher’s choice of teaching approaches and techniques, (ii) students’ experiences and how they learn and (iii) the subject – geography content and concepts that could be taught from the resource (GA, 2012). In this way they identify the strengths and gaps of using the resource and propose ways to close them.

For this paper, I have chosen to evaluate a video entitled Send a Cow Charity Schools Video – educational (Send a Cow, 2008). This could be used in teaching a lesson on food aid as a strategy to alleviate the problem of food shortage that is in the Secondary Four human geography chapter on Food Resources.

The video describes a UK organisation’s charity work in poverty stricken villages in Africa facing food shortages. It describes the type of aid provided, beginning with the provision of livestock, training in animal care and natural organic farming practices. It explains the benefits and improvements for the families and their children and communities as a result of receiving the aid. It also highlights the “pass it on” principle of the organisation, where families who have received aid, go on to help other affected families in their community. This artefact provides a means to analyse consequences of poverty and malnutrition. It also allows the analysis and evaluation of “Send-a-cow” aid with regard to the lives of people, the environment and the problem of food shortage experienced across different parts of the African continent. Figure 2 illustrates an analysis of the video (curriculum artefact) vis-à-vis the curriculum making model.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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