All Over Africa

By Lori Chipkin and Gail Benjamin

Lori and Gail are grade 4 teachers at King David Primary School Sandton. They have worked together for 3 years and have managed to blend old-school practices with 21st teaching strategies to impact and inspire their learners. 

Lori has been a teacher for 5 years. When she was in grade 1, she told her mom that she would be “a teacher in the day and an actress at night.” She let go of one part of her dream but she never gave up on her dream to be a teacher. After finishing school at King David, she joined their learnership programme and became a teacher at King David Sandton. Gail has been a teacher at King David Sandton for 31 years. She started off as a Foundation Phase teacher and then found her true passion in the grade 4 classroom. She is a loving mother and grandmother when she is not at school.

The vision

The vision

At a predominantly privileged school, we have children who are often going overseas. After Lori went to Victoria Falls on holiday, we started questioning why so few South Africans travel within Africa. There is so much wonder to explore in our own continent that is often ignored. We decided to pose a question to the children: 


How can we increase and encourage tourism within the African continent? 


Each group was tasked with creating a book about an African country and exploring its wonders. As they are only in grade 4, we accomplished this through guided inquiry.

Curriculum standards

The vision
Curriculum standards

We are an IEB school but we integrate CAPS into it. This lesson unit was developed initially by combining skills and content from Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and English.  It also incorporated technology skills and research skills.

Learning journey

The vision

Teacher planning

The vision

We designed this learning unit with PurpleZA’s Power of Project-based learning course. Their Ideastorming document and 5 E’s Inquiry Design framework helped us structure the learning activities and consider all the elements of project-based learning.

Student activities

The vision



Before introducing this task, we did a comprehension on Kelvin Doe and watched a TED talk by him. This opened up a discussion about Africa.

We discussed this at length and we showed them pictures of my trip to Vic Falls and Botswana. This led us to discuss how wonderful Africa is and how our new goal was to encourage and increase African tourism.



The learners were split into groups, given their country and a Canva booklet to guide their research. The media centre at school was set up to enable their research journey. Accessible and relevant books were set out that they could use to help answer their questions.

There were also QR codes around the room that took them to relevant and accurate websites. We did not want all the information to come from Google and they used many media lessons doing research and discussing issues of plagiarism. 

Each group’s booklet was slightly different and they had to base all their research on the guiding questions. 



Once the learners had collected their research, they were able to start creating their books on Canva. We showed some basic Canva skills and the children went from there. They worked in their groups to incorporate their research into their book. Each page of their book dealt with a different subheading. They needed to work out a common theme or style for their book which we also explored by looking at other examples. 



About halfway through their work, we gave each group a rubric that would be used to assess them at the end. They were able to use this to edit and enhance the work they had already done. It is a very detailed rubric that made our expectations very clear. 



When the learners finished their book and their review and editing process, they moved on to peer assessment. Each group was given another group’s work and needed to see what edits or comments they could share. This was not designed to be a critical exercise, but rather a helpful and guiding one. By seeing someone else’s work, they would also be able to assess their own. 



When everyone’s work was complete, we printed their work and had a book launch. The students were able to present their work to the rest of the school and their parents. While presenting their book, they needed to promote African tourism and their country. 

Student Creations

The vision





Student reflections

The vision

We asked our students for feedback on this learning journey, here is what they said.

Teacher reflections

The vision

This was an exceptional learning experience for us. We were forced to push our boundaries and our perceived limitations. We loved learning with the students and guiding their learning. The one thing we would change in the future would be to shorten the amount of time given to each task. When they work on something for too long, the excitement dies and they start to play a bit too much. Doing this activity inspired us and we will be exploring many more activities like this going forward. We have truly learned the power of taking risks!

Technology used

The vision
  • Laptops

  • iPads

  • Canva

  • Google

Technology used

Closing thoughts

The vision

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
Dr. Seuss 


Want to learn more about PBL? Want to learn more about PBL?  Keen on Design Thinking?

Hop over to LaunchPad and complete our SACE-accredited Power of Project-based Learning and Design Thinking in your Classroom courses. 

Or bring us to your school or join us online for our Extreme Project Makeover or Breaking Down the Silos workshops.