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For roughly 4 cents an acre, the fledgling United States doubled in size with the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, signed 210 years ago with France on April 30, 1803.
Acting on orders from President Thomas Jefferson (who had put his doubts as to the constitutionality of the expansion aside) American agents James Monroe and Robert Livingston had planned only to negotiate for the purchase of New Orleans and Florida from France. Instead they were offered the entire territory for the equivalent of 15 million dollars, an offer they hastily accepted.
I taught my Form One’s their first geography lesson today. I’m not sure if they learned geography in primary school, so maybe it was their first geography lesson ever.
To start, I had them draw a map of the world in their exercise books. The results were… interesting. Haha. I mean, they don’t see images constantly like kids growing up in America do… they don’t watch TV, they have limited textbooks, etc. So most of them didn’t really know what it was supposed to look like. Some of them just drew a map of Malawi, which I thought was interesting.
Anyway, one popular Peace Corps activity undertaken by volunteers is the World Map Project. I am definitely going to try and do this at my school with my new geography students. By the end of this term these kids will KNOW that America is not in Europe.