Globalization: Solutions to Our Problems

Unit 3: Activities

Activity 1: “U.S. Midwest and West Africa: What do we have in common?


  • To analyze the similarities and differences between the two regions
  • To understand that the U.S. Midwest and West Africa share similar economic, social and cultural problems
  • To understand that solutions to these common problems could be determined collectively
  • To provide context for the next activities in this unit

TERMS: Senegal, U.S. Midwest, (French) West Africa

ARTIFACTS: Le Senegal children’s book, CD’s of Senegalese artists, magazines, post cards


  • Students will use the Internet to research information about the countries in French West Africa, mainly Senegal, and the states in the U.S. Midwest (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin).
  • You may also use the children’s book about Senegal, Wolof books, music CD’s, magazines, and post cards to introduce students to Senegalese culture
  • Teacher can choose how you want students to present their findings (paper, presentation, poster, skit, etc.)
  • Areas of comparison that students must include:
    • Infant mortality rate
    • Literacy rate
    • Life expectancy
    • Unemployment rate
    • Industry
    • Agriculture
    • GDP
    • Government type
    • Poverty rate
    • Cultural norms (religion, popular media, music, dress, gender norms, etc.)

Key Points
We want students to understand that we who live in the U.S. Midwest share common problems with people who live in West Africa.  Globalization is affecting us all.  Instead of isolating ourselves from the rest of the world, we can work together and learn from others who also struggle to eliminate poverty and other social ills of our time.