The idea for this display started during library read-aloud time, when I read the picture book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind to the intermediate classes (this was a parting suggestion from Ms Higgins who was inspired by the newly-released NetFlix movie). It is the true story of William Kamkwamba, who, when he was just 14 years old, figured out how to bring water to his family’s drought-stricken fields in Malawi by using a windmill to power an electric pump. His family couldn’t afford to send him to school so he sneaked into the library and taught himself basic electrical engineering with the help of the local librarian, and using scavenged materials.
Hearing this story inspired Ms Wheatley, an Education Assistant in our school, who is originally from South Africa, to bring a toy windmill similar to the ones we thought William may have practiced making. As we talked, Ms Wheatley told me about other objects she had collected in her visits to South Africa over the years, which were also made from recycled trash. And this conversation seemed to touch on so many ideas that we have been talking about in the school and in the library: ideas about creativity, about recycling, about thinking globally, and also about the new Applied Design, Skills and Technology curriculum, where students are encouraged to learn practical, hands-on skills through design and creation. And so . . .
To learn more about this display, click ‘Continue reading”
The slide show below tells William’s story in more detail. You can click the left and right arrows below the image to navigate back and forth or, on a touch screen, you can just swipe left or right. If the slide show doesn’t load (and you see a blank space below) hit the ‘Refresh’ button on your browser bar.
Below are some additional items and ideas Ms Wheatley brought back from South Africa, and which we also displayed in the library. The purse in the top photo is made from metal pop can tabs, held together with beautiful crochet work. The bottom photo shows an example of Ms Wheatley’s own crochet-work, which was inspired by the story One Plastic Bag. She bought the purse from a village in Zululand. And she is working on the crocheting herself. The slide show gives more information about the display. It works the same way as the one above.
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