This activity guide for educators provides concepts for using Kel Wer in a classroom setting, exposing students to an international learning experience and showing how a team of undergraduate and graduate students can solve real-world problems through applied learning.

This guide contains information on screening the film, sample discussion questions and a mock construction project activity that highlights the challenges and opportunities of building in a team environment where communications and resources are limited.

Questions for Discussion >>

What did you learn about the geography and climate of the region in Kenya to which the team traveled?

How did the film depict the culture of Lelans? How is their culture different from yours? How is it similar?

What skills did the OSU students have that helped them solve the challenges they faced in Lela?

What skills did the Lelans apply in completing the project?

What challenges in communications did the students confront during the project?

Many of the OSU students in the film were studying civil engineering. What types of activities do you think civil engineers typically do?

Quick Facts >>

Dholuo is the language spoken by the Luo people, one of more than 40 ethnic groups found in Kenya.

Despite the fact that Lela experiences seasonal water shortages, it is not far from Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake by area and the largest tropical lake in the world.

In the region around Lela, there is a hot dry season and a cooler dry season. There are then two wet seasons.

Civil engineering is one of the oldest engineering disciplines. Civil engineers design, construct and maintain works including bridges, canals, dams and buildings. The most common sub-disciplines in civil engineering are structural, geotechnical, water resources, and transportation engineering.

College students in engineering and other disciplines who seek experiential learning opportunities like the EWB trip to Lela achieve higher rates of academic success.

Group Activity >>

The OSU students and people of Lela had to overcome a language barrier and navigate cultural differences, but they still managed to work together to complete a large project.

How would you construct something while having to exchange information only through translators? This activity attempts to recreate a team building project that faces communications challenges.

Break the class in to groups of five to seven students. Each group should assign roles. There should be one “looker,” one “translator,” and the rest of the team “builders.”

The goal of the activity is to precisely recreate a model. Each team will be given a collection of small objects that must be arranged by the team to create an exact copy of a diagram. You can use the suggested model, but you can also create your own based on available materials.

Suggested Model >>


The Rules >>

The teams must work under the following constraints, which make the project more challenging:

At the end of the given time, show the students the model and see how precisely they were able to recreate it.

End with the following discussion: