Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
South Africa Story: Apartheid, Diamonds & Gold
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

How does environment shape culture and human experience? Students explore this question as they discover how natural resources-namely, diamonds and gold-influenced the history and culture of South Africa. Wearing the imaginary hats of historians and consultants, students learn about South Africa's troubled history. Students learn about apartheid through research and the words of a South African woman, whose story is featured on the SOUTHERN TREASURES episode of AFRICA, airing Sunday, October 28th at 8 PM. As a culminating activity, students express their thoughts on apartheid by writing children's books, focusing on point of view.

Grade Level:
High School

Time Allotment:
This lesson should take five class periods of approximately 50-60 minutes each.

Subject Matter:
History, English

This lesson was prepared with Maureen Carroll.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
  • research history, culture, and socio-political issues in South Africa.
  • learn about the country of South Africa by engaging in research and writing activities.
  • communicate their understanding of how natural resources impact culture.
  • learn and write about apartheid.


New York Language Arts Standards

Standard 1-Language for Information and Understanding- Commencement
Speaking and writing to acquire and transmit information requires asking probing and clarifying questions, interpreting information in one's own words, applying information from one context to another, and presenting the information and interpretation clearly, concisely, and comprehensibly.

Standard 3-Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation -Commencement
Listening and reading to analyze and evaluate experiences, ideas, information, and issues requires using evaluative criteria from a variety of perspectives and recognizing the difference in evaluations based on different sets of criteria.

Speaking and writing for critical analysis and evaluation requires presenting opinions and judgments on experiences, ideas, information, and issues clearly, logically, and persuasively with reference to specific criteria on which the opinion or judgment is based.

New Jersey Language Art Standards

New Jersey State Standard 3.3
All students will write in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes.

New Jersey State Standard 3.4
All students will read a variety of materials and texts with comprehension and critical analysis.

Connecticut Language Art Standards

Content Standard One - Reading and Responding (grades 9-12)
Students will describe the thoughts, opinions, and questions that arise as they read, view, or listen to a text. They will demonstrate a basic understanding of the text, and identify inconsistencies and ambiguities.

This lesson was prepared with Maureen Carroll.