June 10, 2013
Welcome to AP Human Geography! This coming school year we will be embarking into what I believe is the most fascinating and important class in high school. Human Geography is a highly relevant subject in today’s ever-shrinking world. We will be learning about topics such as population, migration, culture, language, religion, ethnicity, agriculture, development and urban systems. By the end of the course you will be fully prepared to succeed in the AP test and you will come away with a deeper understanding of the world and how we are all connected.
As your first assignment, I want you to read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba. It tells the compelling story of a young man (your age) who lives in Malawi, a very poor country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even though his family was too poor to send him to secondary (high) school, and although he almost died from famine, he taught himself the fundamentals of electricity from textbooks he borrowed from a local library and built a functioning, power-generating windmill, the first in his region of his country. I don’t want to ruin the story by telling you what happened next, but it is a truly remarkable story and one that I hope you will find inspiring as well as challenging.
I have arranged with Chaucer’s Books to hold several copies of the book on their shelves this summer; as students purchase copies they will order more. You can also easily purchase this book online from Amazon.com, or any number of other sites. If purchasing this book will be a hardship for your family, please contact me so we can discuss getting you a copy for your use.
As you read the story, I would like you to complete the following assignment:
From the book:
1. Do you think William’s father should have paid the trader who had lost his bag of gumballs? Why? 2. Why do you think the author begins his story by retelling stories of magic that he had been told as a child? 3. What role do you think the Gule Wamkulu play for the Chewa?
1. What rules regarding morals and public behavior did President Banda enforce? 2. Explain how William’s father became a Christian.
3. Explain how William’s attempt at mangolomera turned out.
1. Describe the unique burial customs of the Chewa.
2. How was President Muluzi different from President Banda?
3. Describe the boy’s mphala.
1. What was the importance of radio to Malawians?
2. Describe William’s repair business with Geoffrey.
3. What was the truck drivers’ explanation for how trucks worked? 4. What is the significance of nsima to Malawians?
1. What percentage of Malawians have access to electricity?
2. Recount William’s explanation of why cutting down trees keeps Malawians poor. 3. What were the reasons the government of Malawi ran out of maize (corn) during the famine crisis? 4. What happened to Chief Wimbe after he spoke at the President’s rally?
1. How are gender roles and practices different between Chewa culture and our culture? 2. What gamble with their food did William’s parents take? Explain their idea. Did it work? 3. Describe what happened when William went to the ADM ARC grain supply building. 4. How did William and Charity manage to eat meat on Christmas Day?
1. How did William feel about the results of the Standard Eight test? 2. How did the government respond to the growing famine?
3. How many students dropped out of William’s school that year?
1. Describe what happened when William went bird hunting.
2. What happens to Khamba the dog?
3. Describe the great event that occurs during this chapter.
1. Explain the significance of windmills to William.
2. Explain (or draw) the design of the large windmill William wanted to build.
1. Describe how William tried to attend secondary school for free. 2....
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