Lesson 1 : Physical and Agricultural Geography of Kenya (Grade 7)
Using Google Earth and some custom digital maps, students will explore the physical and agricultural geography of Kenya in East Africa. An engaging "flight" along a portion of the Rift Valley in Tanzania and Kenya will highlight some of the spectacular landforms associated with Plate Tectonics in this area.
Students will explore several maps of the population distribution and precipitation climatology of Kenya. Students will investigate the concept of moisture availability (average annual precipitation divided by potential evaporation) as it applies to the spatial distribution of crop failure risks in Kenya.
Students will learn the major cash crops of Kenya and discover their spatial distributions. Lastly, using recent simulations from an NSF-funded research project at Michigan State University (www.clip.msu.edu), students will explore the impact of climate change on the agricultural geography of Kenya from present conditions to those predicted to occur by the year 2050.
Lesson 2 : Exploring the Biogeography and Agricultural Geography Near Mt. Kenya (Grade 7)
Using Google Earth, some brief web readings, several custom digital maps and numerous high-resolution satellite images, low-altitude aerial photos and ground-level pictures, students will explore the biogeography and agricultural geography of Mt. Kenya in East Africa. Using the rich database of annotated photographs (both aerial and ground-level), the students will be led on a virtual fieldtrip from the summit area of Mt. Kenya, where no trees grow, to the semi-arid, subsistence cropland zone. This virtual excursion follows the major ecological gradient in Kenya and serves as a valuable summary of the biogeography of much of East Africa.
Students will explore the biogeographic concept of life zones through brief web reading assignments and by interpreting several graphs and maps of the natural life zones on Mt. Kenya. Students will use the concept of moisture availability as a conceptual framework to interpret the spatial distribution of crop type and crop failure risks along a gradient on the eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya.
Students will learn about the major cash crops of the Mt. Kenya region (tea, coffee, rice and floriculture) and their appearance on aerial photos and in the field (from the ground-level photographs). They will discover the spatial distribution of these cash crops and relate them to the biogeographic concept of moisture availability.