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Educators explore ways to incorporate lessons on Mandela into curriculum

All — South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Teachers, who are fulfilling Mandela’s mission every day, recently visited the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s ‘Mandela: The Official Exhibition’ for an Educator Night. The exhibition is open through May 26.

Educators learned about ways to incorporate lessons from the exhibit into their curriculum. The immersive exhibit tells the story of Mandela from childhood to anti-apartheid activist to first democratically elected president in South Africa through a series of experiential galleries and artifacts, including films, photos and documents.

 While picking up resources and chatting about curriculum tie-ins, East Kentwood High School teachers said they plan to use lessons from the exhibit in their Advanced Placement World History and U.S. History classes. 

 “This is directly part of our content that we teach. Aside from being one of our heroes of world history, it’s also right in our curriculum,” said Tim Gumz, who teaches AP U.S. History.

 GRPM lead educator Ashleigh Palmiter said the exhibit is a poignant yet inspiring way to teach about Mandela.

“Experiencing Nelson Mandela’s story at a deeper level gives students the opportunity to connect with his struggle and that of an entire nation, understand what Mandela stood for in his fight for freedom, and how we can carry on his legacy today,” she said.

Read more: 
Parade of Nations is celebration of diversity
Have empathy, want change: capstones they care about

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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