This activity will help your students research and outline a four paragraph essay on life in a refugee camp. This can easily be used in a social studies classroom while discussing Africa or Asia, or could be used in an English classroom as a writing assignement.
Students will use several resources from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees for their research. Two of these resources are text pages on the UNHCR website where students can gather general information about refugees. The third resource is a Flickr photo stream that has been shared by the UNHCR. This photo stream provides great pictures along with a textual explanation of each one.
The format of this handout is suitable for middle school and/or high school students. The first page is the introductory activity which allows for group work, anticipation, and initial research. The second page provides resources and questions for additional research. The third page guides students through creating an outline for a social studies paper (Introduction with thesis, two topic paragraphs, and a strong conclusion). The final page is a rubric for grading based on the requirements in the essay.
I used these assignment handouts with my 7th grade class which has students of varying abilities from very high to very low. They were highly engaged and produced acceptable to excellent work with the given format. I spent 3 days on this in class and they finished for homework.
The most common mistake the students made was to not read the text under the pictures in the Flickr stream carefully...so be sure to point that out to them (a few times!) :)
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