Context for this Lesson
Topic: Obstacles from Colonization to Independence
Purpose: To analyze and extend understanding of the obstacles facing colonies in attempts to gain independence
Prior knowledge: Basic understanding of the topic
Today we are going to review and share what you’ve learned about colonization and independence from colonial powers using some drama strategies. First, let's remind ourselves: what were some challenges that colonized people faced on the way to independence? Write the ideas students have on the board or another visible place in the room. Once they gained political independence, what were some challenges that those folks faced in gaining financial freedom? Write these on the board as well.
Ask for two volunteers, one to represent colonialism, and the other to represent independence. Situate them at opposite ends of the room. Referring back to the list of obstacles generated, have students sculpt themselves into challenges that people faced, then place these “mines” in the way of the person seeking independence. (e.g. lack of education, urbanization). Choose someone to be blindfolded, representing a colonized person. Explain to students that as a class, we are going to direct this student through our maze without letting them touch any of the mines on the path. We will go around the circle to give directions. Each person in the outside circle can give only one direction, and we want to only go around the circle exactly once. Help one student through.
- What would make this easier?
- What did the navigator do to make the journey as safe as possible?
- What could have helped them avoid disaster easier?
- Why was seeking independence so difficult?
Once students have successfully gotten the first student through, move on to the next round. Now we are going to build another image, this time focusing on the path from independence to financial freedom. Choose two students who will represent independence and financial freedom, and have them stand at opposite ends of the room. Review the obstacles to financial freedom on the board. Again, have students sculpt images that represent these struggles. In the same procedure as the first round, have students lead a blindfolded student through the maze.
Introduce NAFTA and Mercosur. Sometimes, there were organizations who wanted to help these countries. What were these organizations? Who formed these groups? How did they help? Did they always have the countries’ best interests at heart, or did some of the organizations have individual reasons for helping new countries?
Assign students in the outside circle an organization, either NAFTA or Mercosur. Stress that while Mercosur was generally interested in helping the countries, NAFTA was just as invested in their own success as the countries. Ask how this changes what kinds of directions the students will give the blindfolded student walking through the minefield. Follow the above procedure, this time allowing some students to make the journey more difficult, while others help the blindfolded student out of the maze.
Describe: What did we do in this activity?
Analyze: What did you find challenging? What did you find easier? Did you realize any obstacles that we hadn't discussed in class before?
Relate: What did you notice about the way we did this work today? Why might someone choose to do the lesson this way? Are there other ways that this kind of work might be useful (in work, play, review)?