by D. Smieja, Richfield Middle School

Using geographic data gathered from the web, students complete an authentic assessment activity analyzing four specific sites in Africa. The task is to determine which site would best meet the needs of a company seeking to build a new factory. As "consultants" students will evaluate each site using a set of criteria and make a final recommendation to the "client."


Your consulting firm has recently been hired by Smieja Diversified Industries (SDI), a multi-national corporation that is interested in expanding into Africa. Because your company is so familiar with that continent, SDI has asked you to evaluate the sites it is considering for the new facility. SDI is a multi-billion dollar organization of many different industries that are involved in everything from space age technology and hardware, to agriculture and lumbering. SDI became successful because it is very shrewd about where it invests money. It is willing to take risks, if there is a convincing argument that the risk is calculated and may pay off in the long run. This new site in Africa will have two major functions:

First, it will acquire and process raw materials needed at other SDI locations around the world. Of particular interest to SDI are materials such as minerals and lumber.

Second, the site will be an experimental location for some of its agricultural products. SDI is interested in raising grain crops for humans and livestock at the lowest possible cost to the consumer. However, the site chosen will have to be able to support farms and cattle on its own for the first few years until the experimental projects are well under way and can take over.

Your job will be to gather information from the web on each of the sites provided and evaluate them against a specific set of criteria -- keeping the client's goals in mind at all times!