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DNGC geography students design bridges across Africa

Stan Reid, Nick Barbeau and Pierson Davis

Recently, DNGC PAP World Geography students researched the physical, political, economic, and cultural aspects of a specific region of Africa where they were tasked with providing a rationalization for building a highway across the continent. The team-based project involved collaboration, problem-solving, and research. Students had to create five thematic maps of their region, and present their proposed map of Africa to an audience of administrators, principals, board members, and teachers.

One team spoke knowledgeably of the need for a viable bridge that would offer access throughout most parts of Africa in an efficient, cost-effective manner. The route would use fewer natural resources, cross no major rivers and less desert areas. Theresa Ruflin said their bridge avoided countries with mountainous or rain-forest terrains to save resources. “We also planned it to cultural and other serious issues,” she said.

Teddy West, Theresa Ruflin, Grace Flatten and Stan Reid
Teddy West, Theresa Ruflin, Grace Flatten and Stan Reid

“This project involved a lot of collaboration and critical thinking on our part because we wanted it to be a feasible solution to the transportation and safety issues in Africa,” she said. Her teammates were Teddy West and Grace Flatten.

The team of Pierson Davis and Nick Barbeau focused on capitalizing on African tourism for the route of their proposed bridge. The suggested north-south route offered a trade connection from Europe to South Africa. This team, too, avoided countries in regional conflicts, as well as larger cities with known conflicts.

AISD Deputy Superintendent Lynn McKinney said the students were very impressive with their presentations. “They showed in-depth knowledge about the content and were persuasive about their beliefs on the development of their chosen routes. It is encouraging to see such enthusiasm for a complex project,” she said.

See how the project tied into the World Bank views at

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