Making Connections through Science in Zambia

By Betty Trummel

Looking ahead to a few weeks from now, I’m busy packing up school supplies to bring to Zambia, and I’m pulling together the books and props I intend to use in my lessons.


Betty in the garden on a previous trip to Zambia

Science topics can provide a connection across cultural borders.  I’ll be using this subject area as I focus on literacy instruction.  There is a school vegetable garden at Shine Zambia Reading Academy.  Pupils will accompany me on a mini field trip to learn more about how plants grow.  I’ll share great nonfiction text with them, and hopefully once we land in Zambia I can buy some seeds for each child to plant.

I’ll be using my savanna animal finger puppets to bring alive lessons on animals indigenous to that region, as I share informational text with the children.  On my last trip to Zambia, I used the puppets while at Shine.  Children of all ages were mesmerized by them; they inched closer and closer as I realized they probably hadn’t seen finger puppets before.  It was an amazing learning experience for me.  Bringing along some simple props engages the students, just like it does with my fourth graders here in Crystal Lake.  Some things are just universal.

Oh, and my class is finishing up the “Husmann A to Z” book that they are writing together.  I’ll be sharing that with children and teachers in Zambia as well.  My students have learned a lot from the book I wrote with students at Shine four years ago.  Now it’s time to pay that forward by sharing our school life with those I meet on this journey.

Very excited to get this trip going and both inspire and be inspired by our Zambian friends.

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