Ariadne Prior-Grosch

Academy for Software Engineering, Manhattan NY

Explore Enduring Issues and Crosscutting concepts in 10th-grade global history and earth science curricula across the African continent to highlight content connections, interdisciplinary learning opportunities and culturally responsive case studies and develop project-based learning units that integrate themes in global history and earth science.

Where I've Been

  • Agafay Desert, Morocco
  • Marrakech, Morocco
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Arusha, Tanzania
  • Ngorongoro, Tanzania
  • Oldupai, Tanzania
  • Zanzibar, Tanzania

My Fellowship in Images

The Old Portuguese Arch, built in the 16th century in Zanzibar…Today, Zanzibar has a booming tourism industry, but the impacts of climate change loom large including changing climate patterns, rising sea levels, and groundwater pollution.
An elephant appeared on the side of the road grazing after passing into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The size of the crater and diversity of wildlife was incredible; tension between Maasai herdsmen and conservation efforts was also evident.
Our safari guide Melvin taught us so much about the history, geography and people of Tanzania. He knew everything about the behavior of the animals in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We learned so much from him in just three days.
The Olduvai Gorge is known as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ where evidence of the first humans was discovered and bipedalism is preserved in a fossilized footprint trail. It was surreal to be in the same location where a Laetoli hominin walked 3.6 mya.
Winter scuba diving in False Bay, South Africa (the other side of the peninsula from Cape of Good Hope) threw me into a marine environment unlike any I’ve ever experienced. The kelp forest, vibrant sponges and urchins were captivating.
Exploring the Palmiere near Marrakech on bicycle led us past camels and to the Water for Civilization Museum where we learned about the ingenious ways Moroccans have been managing their water resources for millennia. Side note: It was 111°F!

Igniting Your Personal and Professional Growth

Describe one or two, specific learning experiences from your fellowship. In words, show us this experience and explain why it was powerful.

One of my most powerful learning experiences came from observing patterns across the three African countries that we visited (Tanzania, South Africa & Morocco) in terms of resource allocation and opportunity. In both rural and urban areas the same challenges presented themselves over and over: access to clean drinking water, reliable electricity, and waste management systems. The stark differences in access to these basic resources was more acute in the extreme environments we traveled through.

What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn professionally?

As a planner, I learned to be more flexible and to go with the flow during the fellowship. I learned how to balance meeting our ambitious fellowship goals while also immersing ourselves in the pace of the life of the communities we were visiting and people we were learning from. The last time I had spent significant time on the African continent was 2006 and I was struck this time by the profound interconnectedness of today’s world due to globalization and more equitable access to cell phones.

What were some unplanned or unexpected experiences or outcomes of your fellowship? Or, how did the fellowship you crafted differ from the actual learning experience?

Two unexpected, wonderful learning experiences were visiting Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park in Zanzibar and scuba diving in South Africa. Walking through Jozani forest with our guide, we stepped over large pieces of coral, showing that the ‘spice island’ was once underwater, a powerful visual of how sea levels have changed over Earth’s history. In South Africa, the opportunity to scuba dive presented itself and I’m glad I braved the frigid winter water temps to explore a kelp forest.

Impacting Your Classroom, School and Community

Outline specific plans you have to implement your fellowship and reach your student goals.

I’m currently revising my Earth Science curriculum to incorporate my new ideas, artifacts, and resources from our fellowship experiences. I specifically want to incorporate the East African Rift into my Plate Tectonics unit more prominently and highlight the impacts of climate change through the examples of Zanzibar and South Africa. Our experiences at the Water for Civilization Museum in Marrakech and in the Atlas Mountains will also feature when we learn about landscapes and meteorology.

What is one way you can leverage your fellowship to create one authentic learning experience for students? (e.g. hands-on learning, projects, community engagement)

My teammate and I will be working to craft at least one cross curricular project for the spring semester that we will implement in our 10th-grade Earth Science and Global History classes, specifically when I teach weather/climate and geography. The overarching themes we are exploring for the project(s) include (1) Impact of Environment on Humans, (2) Human Impact on the Environment, (3) Scarcity of Resources, (4) Patterns, and (5) Cause and Effect using case studies from the three countries.

How, specifically, will your fellowship extend beyond your classroom? (e.g. families, school-at-large, afterschool groups, surrounding community, colleagues, etc.)

We will collaborate with our 10th-grade team to identify opportunities where we can incorporate our project ideas into the other 10th-grade courses like English, Computer Science, Geometry and/or Career Readiness. Our experiences in Zanzibar and Morocco highlighted for me how our Muslim students don’t have much of a voice in our community so I want to work with our Muslim students and teachers to make sure we are doing a better job of supporting our Muslim students and meeting their needs.