The Crisis in Darfur: A Mini-Lesson that Teaches So Much

I challenge you to complete this mini-lesson and consider the questions below.


  1. Watch this news special about the crisis in Darfur.
  2. Play Darfur Is Dying, a quick mini-game that simulates aspects of daily living in this region.


  1. What is your reaction to this information and simulated experience?
  2. What, if anything, did you learn from this lesson?
  3. How might this activity be integrated with teaching and learning?

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Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

12 thoughts on “The Crisis in Darfur: A Mini-Lesson that Teaches So Much”

  1. The crisis in Darfur can teach us and our students about current events, geography, culture, language, and many other things. Students might also be able to compare and contrast the Darfur atrocities with other similar events throughout history. The game becomes more personal and creates within us a greater desire to “win” because of the real life situation it simulates.

  2. I felt sadness when playing the The Crisis in Darfur game. I think this is a great way to teach children about real world situations but help them understand them in an interative way. This also teaches them on a level they can understand that is not over their head.

  3. I loved Oregon Trail… and Sumer (on Apple 2e), which was a precursor to Civilization. This game is great for Social Studies education. I wonder if kids developed it…

  4. 1.What is your reaction to this information and simulated experience?

    My undergraduate degree is in Political Science. When learning about the Darfur it was difficult to understand and some what frustrating at times due to the extent of the issue. This would have made a big difference come final time.

    2.What, if anything, did you learn from this lesson?

    I learned that at an increasing rate woman and children are being abducted. A simple task such as going for drinking water is dangerous and sometimes deadly.

    3. How might this activity be integrated with teaching and learning?

    I only wish we would have had more games to play about important topics in school. In an age where we are all playing video games (especially hands on games such as wii’s) we would better relate and understand with this type of instruction. Come on who didn’t love Oregon Trail???

  5. what a cool way to teach this information. if the teacher just talked about this for a whole class period while the kids took notes it wouldn’t mean much, but giving the material in this kind of way will probably make it more interesting and the students will feel more connected to it. this blog is DA BOMB.

  6. These are all interesting thoughts and reactions. Thanks for sharing your integration ideas, too.

    All the best,

  7. This is not the first I’ve heard of this, but it is the most compelling experience I have had with the information. Thank you for putting together another fine example of technology ingegration. I may have my students work in small groups to research this further and put together their own “Special News Reports” on the Crisis in Darfur. This would allow for integration with language arts (reading, storyboards, outlines, writing the news transcripts, spelling, grammar, punctuation, role play, public speaking, and more) and practice with the use of video and possibly some computer skills (video editing, use of Keynote or PowerPoint).

  8. Clif, as you know i’ve been a missionary teacher in Africa for the past 6 years. The situation in Darfur is unthinkable. I ask everyone that sees this post to pray for peace and to encourage your politicians to get involved in stopping these attrocities.

  9. This is a great post, Clif. Thanks for sharing this idea and resources. Here are my answers to the questions.
    1. This is disturbing information. The game prompted me to consider what it actually means to have to live in these conditions. It brought the situation closer to home and made it more realistic to me.
    2. See #1.
    3. My students could reflect on this using journals or podcasts. We could also use this to start a geography lesson about that region of the world.

  10. I haven’t visited your blog since last week, so I just read your entry about the National Civil Rights Museum (which helped me remember all the experiences that I’ve had through my many visits there) just before reading this entry about Darfur. I don’t know if you purposefully planned for these two entries to fall back-to-back, but they sure work well together.

    Here are my responses to your questions.

    1. Wow, this is powerful stuff. I feel sinycal, but it’s really hard for me to believe that such horrible things are currently going on in the world completely unchecked. This is beyond sad. We all walk to the sink and get water from the tap everyday without giving it a conscious thought. What a mind-blowing realization to see that people knowingly risk their lives for drinking water. And I can’t even begin to comprehend this kind of hatered and disregard for life.

    2. I’m blessed to have been born into my circumstances. I complain about the hassle of fighting traffic and the crowds to go to the grocery store while people in Darfur deal with life and death circumstances daily. It’s a reminder that my world view is too small.

    3. The video and game could easily be used in my 8th grade history class. It could help my students broaden their world view. The game would provide them the opportunity to sort of role play the living circumstances in Darfur. We could tie this with service learning and plan ways to provide assistance or raise awareness.

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