My Gorilla Life: Education Worksheet

Video highlights from My Gorilla Life

Upper Primary and Junior Secondary

My Gorilla Life Education Worksheet

SCHOOL LEVEL
Upper Primary and Junior Secondary


EDUCATION DESCRIPTION: My Gorilla Life
Deep in the heart of the jungle, a dedicated British woman named Angelique Todd heads the Primate Habituation Programme in the Central African Republic's Dzanag Sangha Forest Reserve. Angelique earned her position unequivocally by becoming the first person in the world to habituate a group of western lowland gorillas for scientific research and tourism, a feat that took an extraordinary amount of time and bravery. Mature alpha gorillas, known as silverbacks, can weigh 200 kg and will fight to the death to protect their families. Other challenges, including being bitten by a cobra and succumbing to jungle diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, have failed to deter Angelique from her mission to learn as much as she can about these endangered animals, whilst providing local communities with opportunities for  work, healthcare and education. Immediate threats to the gorillas' future include poaching and, inevitably, habitat destruction.

TEACHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Armed with spadesful of dedication and determination, Angelique Todd, also known as the "gorilla whisperer" set about gaining the trust of western lowland gorillas in the wild. Although her work is challenging and time-consuming, Angelique and the folk at World Wildlife Fund's African Great Apes Program believe it's important, because previously our only knowledge of lowland gorillas came from observations made in zoos.

It took three years before the gorillas would let Angelique approach them at all, without screaming or charging at her, and another four or so until they allowed her close enough to study them. Now, a decade since those first tentative approaches, Angelique has compiled an immense amount of knowledge about these impressive animals, with whom we humans share a common ancestry.
Key to Angelique's important studies is Makumba, the alpha male silverback gorilla who protects and controls his group of three 'wives' and 10 offspring. In allowing Angelique into his world, Makumba has become one of nature's best studied western lowland silverbacks. With his massive chest, powerful forearms and huge teeth, Makumba has a formidable presence. Angelique announces her presence to the gorillas in a non-threatening way by emitting a series of comforting noises. Sitting quietly with the animals, not imposing herself on them and trying to understand the world from their point of view, Angelique has earned Makumba's trust. Running away, looking too frightened or meeting a gorilla's gaze are all taboo, as these actions can challenge the animal's authority, or invite an attack.

Another vital element of Angelique's programme is the participation of some 60 local BaAka forest people, renowned for their exceptional knowledge of the jungle. By assisting with tracking the enigmatic gorillas through their habitat - one of the planet's most impenetrable and least explored areas – the BaAka gain an income and much needed support for their village community. Additionally, this labour of love keeps the BaAka in touch with their traditional way of life.

This beautifully filmed documentary offers an extraordinary insight into the rarely viewed lives of Africa's western lowland gorillas, their jungle environment and the locals who share it. The film also portrays the dangers, hardships and rewards of a real conservation hero.



CURRICULUM POINTERS
 

Upper Primary Curriculum
Geography teaching nurtures students’ curiosity about places and the differences between them. It responds to their wonder about the world and its diversity, and teaches them how to explore this world directly through field work and indirectly through other types of investigation. It develops a geographical imagination that enables students to relate to other places and people, and to appreciate the cultures and perspectives of others.
Shape of the Australian Geography Curriculum 2011: Introduction


Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our curiosity and interest in making sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale


Junior Secondary Curriculum
Geography shows students ways in which they can positively influence their world as active local, national and global citizens by encouraging them to question why things are the way they are, to investigate issues and to evaluate alternative, more sustainable futures. Through exploration and discussion, students develop an informed view of their responsibilities towards the environment and to people throughout the world.
Shape of the Australian Geography Curriculum 2011: Introduction


In addition to its practical applications, learning science is a valuable pursuit in its own right, providing opportunities for critical and creative thinking, challenge and leisure. The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to experience the joy of scientific discovery and to nurture students’ natural curiosity about the world around them. These ideas resonate with the concept of scientific literacy, a term that is well established in the science education literature.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale

CURRICULUM OUTCOMES

 

Upper Primary
In undertaking these tasks, students of geography will:
•    develop a sense of wonder, curiosity, knowledge and interest about the variety of environments, peoples, cultures and places that exist throughout the world, providing [them] with a sound geographical knowledge of their own place, of Australia, and of the world
•    become thoughtful and active local, national and global citizens, and understand how they can influence the futures of places
Shape of the Australian Geography Curriculum 2011: Aims

In undertaking these tasks, students of science will:
•    develop an interest in science and a curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions and speculate about the changing world in which they live
•    develop an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims


Junior Secondary
In undertaking these tasks, students of geography will:
•    become thoughtful and active local, national and global citizens, and … understand how they can influence the futures of places
•    develop [their] ability to ask geographical questions, plan an inquiry, collect and analyse information, (particularly through fieldwork and spatial technologies), reach conclusions based on evidence and logical reasoning, and communicate their findings in effective ways.
Shape of the Australian Geography Curriculum 2011: Aims


In undertaking these tasks, students of science will develop:
•    an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs
•    an ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of science while taking into account moral, ethical and social implications
•    an understanding of historical and cultural aspects of science as well as contemporary science issues and activities and an understanding of the diversity of careers related to science.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims



STUDENT LEARNING TASKS

Upper Primary

Task 1
Go to the following web site: http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps
Click on the map of Africa to enlarge it, then download it and save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook.  On your map:
•    Highlight the Central African Republic
•    Circle the Central African Republic's capital city
•    Highlight the Congo River
•    Highlight the names of the countries that surround the Central African Republic.

Task 2
Name three challenges Angelique has encountered while studying gorillas in the jungle of the Central African Republic. For each challenge, write 25 words to describe how she overcame it.

Task 3
Write a list of five essential items you would need to take with you if you were going to spend time at Angelique's research camp. Write a sentence for each item to explain why you chose to take it.

Task 4
What are three rules that must be obeyed when you are in the company of gorillas? For each rule, explain in about 20 words what might happen if you disobeyed it.

Task 5
Name three challenges that must be overcome if gorillas are to survive in the future.  Write 25 words for each challenge to explain how it could be overcome.


Junior Secondary

Task 1
Go to the following web site:
http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps
Click on the map of Africa to enlarge it, then download it and save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook. On your map:
•    Highlight the Central African Republic
•    Circle the Central African Republic's capital city
•    Highlight the Congo River
•    Highlight the names of the countries that surround the Central African Republic.
•    On your map, mark the range of western lowland gorillas. (Remember they do not observe borders or nations, use the Internet to help with this task.)

Task 2
One of the areas inhabited by western lowland gorillas is the jungles of the Congo, described as being amongst the world's most impenetrable and inhospitable places. Do some research to help you write a 100-word description of this jungle habitat.

Task 3
Name five differences between a male "blackback" gorilla and a "silverback". Then decide which of these you would rather be – if you were a gorilla – and write down three reasons as to why you made your choice.

Task 4
Imagine you are one of the Ba'Aka people helping Angelique Todd with her work. In 150 words, describe a typical day in which you track the gorillas with her, including how and where you find the gorillas, how you approach them and why, and what they are doing when you find them.

Task 5
List 10 advantages for the Ba'Aka and the western lowland gorillas that have arisen as a result of Angelique Todd's work. Of these, explain in 50 words which advantage do you consider to be the most important, and why.
 

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