Once cultures began relying on grain, vegetable, or boiled meat diets instead of mainly hunting and eating roasted meat, adding salt to food became an absolute necessity for maintaining life. Because the Akan lived in the forests of West Africa, they had few natural resources for salt and always needed to trade for it. Gold, however, was much easier to come by. Every Akan knew how to find tiny grains of gold sparkling in the river beds after a rainfall. The people who lived in the desert of North Africa could easily mine salt, but not gold. They craved the precious metal that would add so much to their personal splendor and prestige. These mutual needs led to the establishment of long-distance trade routes that connected very different cultures.
The perfect classroom. Ask students to write a paragraph that tells what they think the perfect classroom should be like. (This is not fiction/fantasy writing; they should describe the atmosphere of an ideal real classroom.) Arrange students into groups of four. Ask each student to underline in his or her paragraph the "most important words or phrases." After students have done that, they should pass their papers to the person in their group who is seated to their right. Students should continue passing papers and underlining important words until the original writer has her/his paper back. At that point, students will share with the group some of the important words and phrases in their own writing; a group note taker will record the words and phrases that might best describe a perfect classroom. Group members will review the list and decide on five words or phrases to share with the class. When the class has a fully developed class list of words and phrases, they will use some of those words and phrases to write a "class statement" that will be posted on the wall for all to see. When things are not going "perfectly," it is time to review the class statement.