Countries, Many Cultures:
Lesson #1 K-W-L on
Estimated Time: 40 minutes
In order to build on students prior knowledge about the African
continent this lesson will accomplish the following objectives:
- Students will reflect on what they know about the African
- Students will reflect on what they want to know about the
African continent. (Evaluation)
- Large clip board to have a written record of the K-W-L
- Tell the students that as a class we are "going" to visit
African countries for the next two weeks.
- To help the children understand why the class will be doing a
K-W-L chart tell them that in order to learn more about the
continent we need to figure out what we already know about it and
what we want to learn about it.
- Set down guidelines for contributing to the K-W-L chart:
- Students should raise their hands.
- Students must listen to other questions and comments being
- Students must not comment on any of the questions. This
will be done once the unit begins.
- Even if students are not very sure of what they know about
the continent they should still tell the class what they think
they know, because this will help us find out if any of our
prior information was inaccurate or accurate.
- Start calling on students to tell the class what they know
about the African continent, write their comments under the "K"
section of the chart.
- After students have finished adding to the list of what they
know, invite the students to tell the class what they would like
to know about the African continent. Write their comments under
the "L" section of the chart.
- End the lesson by grouping similar questions so that the class
has some general areas of inquiry, e.g. languages, weather,
physical geography, etc.
- Students as a class will contribute the information they think
they already have about Africa.
- Students as a class will pose information they want to find
out about Africa.
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Geography: Let's Get to Know the Continent
Estimated Time: 1 hour
- Students will appreciate the vast size of the African
continent by comparing its size to other continents.
- Students will become familiar with the names and locations of
African countries and major physical features by reproducing their
own labeled maps of Africa. (Application)
- Students will organize their maps using colors, symbols, and
clear labels. (Application).
- Students will have an introductory understanding of the
diversity of cultures that exists in Africa by learning about the
number of languages and ethnic groups. (Knowledge).
- Students will use the equator as a reference point, and
compass directions to locate places on a map. (Application)
- Audio Tape: "Let Your Voice be Heard! Songs from Ghana and
- Transparency of the world map
- Map of Africa
- Blank copies of the African map, with country boundary and
some physical features
- Continental pie chart
- Play "Chiro Chacho" on the "Let Your Voice be Heard!" tape so
as to get your students' attention and to add some African spirit
into the atmosphere. Ask students to guess where the music is
- Call on a volunteer to point out the continent of Africa on
the world map.
- Ask the children what information we could get about the
continent of Africa by examining a world map:a. How big Africa is
in comparison to other continents:
- It is the second largest continent in the world
after Asia. By using a continental pie chart you can
demonstrate that Africa takes up 20 percent of the world's land
area. Also inform the kids that America can fit into Africa
- Location of Africa on the world map.
- Oceans that surround the continent of Africa
- Hand-out the blank maps of Africa. As a class the next step
will be to go over each of the countries, major rivers, mountains
and deserts. Tell the children they will be labeling the maps and
encourage neighbors to help each other if one of them has problems
finding something. Caution the class to try and keep at one pace
so we can learn the major landmarks of the continent
- Refer to a map of Africa by itself. Ask the children what
specific information this map would give us:
- Number of countries. Get the children to count
silently how many countries there are in Africa (49).
- Names, shapes, and location of countries. Ask students to
pronounce the name of each country and write it down on the
board or on the transparency itself. Ask the children to copy
down the name of the country next to the correct country
number. Students must also trace the boundary of each country
with their marker or color pencil.
- After tracing around each country and naming it ask the
students approximately where this country is--north, south,
east, west or central Africa?
- Children must now locate the major physical features and trace
and color them: brown for deserts, blue for rivers, blue for
lakes, a little triangle for mountains. They should be familiar
with the following at least:
- Deserts - Sahara, Kalahari
- Lakes - Victoria, Nyasa, Tanganyika
- Rivers - Nile, Niger, Zambezi
- Mountains - Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Atlas
- Conclude by summarizing what the class learnt - size of
Africa, names and numbers of countries. Tie this into the topic of
the mini-unit: "Many Countries, Many Cultures: Africa." Ask the
students why this is an appropriate topic for the mini-unit. Just
to wet their curiosity and to get them ready to investigate
individual countries during the next lesson tell the children that
there are 3000 cultural groups and more than 1000 languages spoken
in Africa. Continue the transition into the next lesson by telling
the children that it is important for us to investigate different
countries in Africa from different regions so that we can get a
sampling of the great diversity that exists in the continent.
- Do the students understand how large the African continent is?
Did the continental pie chart help demonstrate the idea that
Africa takes up 20 percent of the lands surface? Could the
children visualize the concept of three USAs fitting into
- Students should label and trace their maps of Africa
- Students should reproduce their maps in an organized fashion
using representative colors and symbols for physical features.
Labeling must also be clear.
- Do students understand the diversity in having 3000 cultural
groups and 1000 languages? Ask them if they could think of names
of 1000 different languages? Do they think there are 1000
different languages spoken in America? Are there 3000 cultural
groups in America? Stress that there is so much diversity in
Africa because it is such a big continent.
- Students will accurately locate countries according to the
compass direction and will use the equator as a dividing line
between south and north Africa.
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Geography/Language Arts: Visual
Cooperative Groups on Five African
Estimated Time: 1 Hour one day, 30 minutes another day
- Students will demonstrate their ability to work in groups
- Students will demonstrate ability to work with a CD-ROM
- Students compile data on a country through research.
- Students will produce a presentation of a country on a poster
- 3D Atlas CD-ROM program, Microsoft Corporation, 1996
- Information books on Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya,
- Poster paper
- Discuss the importance of working in cooperative groups: Tell
the kids that since Africa is such a big continent we can't
research every country, but we can split up into groups and study
one country from a region and then tell the whole class about it.
Explain the importance of teamwork.
- Discuss the importance of research skills and how students can
take responsibility of their own learning and not rely solely on
the teacher. Brainstorm with the children about where information
comes from: books, encyclopedias, maps, films, internet, etc.
- Set specific guidelines for working in cooperative groups:
Teamwork, raising their hands if the whole group is confused about
something, working on the computer station for only 10 minutes
(teacher will call on the next group), students should control
- Divide students into country committees of 4-5 (make this list
up before hand, try to have the second and third graders work
- Explain the objective of each group: to research their country
from the books provided, the 3D Atlas CD-ROM, the encyclopedias
and any other books at the Africa learning center. Each student
has specific information they need to find out about their
country, the group should help each other in locating information
that will be helpful to their group. Outline each members role on
the group worksheet that is given to the students.
- On the chalk board, using a sample country in Africa,
brainstorm ways the students can present their information on
poster board. Encourage large drawings of flags and country maps
including written data about the country. Students should make
their presentations as creative and colorful as possible so that
other people will be interested in reading it and learning about
- Tell the students that after they have finished working on
their poster board they should rehearse giving a report about
their country. Students should be ready to make their
presentations in front of the whole class the next morning.
- Hand out the group responsibility sheets and encourage each
member to read out what their role is.
- Assign a group to the computer. Show them how to use the 3D
Atlas Program: Locate the country, write any information they need
for their report, look at the photographs, the map, the flag,
students can also listen to the national anthem of that country.
Repeat this step every ten minutes for all the groups.
- When students feel comfortable in using the Atlas program,
rotate around the class to comment on and guide the children with
- After students have finished with their country posters and
given a report to the class (a day later) display the posters on a
- Are students working as a team? Do students understand their
roles and responsibilities? Do they help each other in fulfilling
their roles? Do the students share the information they have found
about their countries?
- Do students understand how to use the 3D Atlas program? Can
they see how this technology can help them research information
about countries? About the Atlas program: Was this a good program
for the students to use? Could the students understand the
information given? Did the pictures on the program give the
students a more realistic picture of Africa?
- Are the students able to locate specific information about
their countries? Are they looking at different sources to find
- Did the students have a clear and colorful presentation of
their country? Did they include all the information required of
them? Did they include other interesting facts about their
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Social Studies/Language and
Responding to Galimoto by Karen
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
- Students will gain an understanding of life in a Malawian
village by looking at the pictures in Galimoto.
- Students will produce a picture and a paragraph describing
their dreams and goals. (Application)
- Galimoto, by Karen Williams, illustrated by Catherine
- A model wire car (which can be easily made) similar to the one
in the Galimoto
- Blank paper
- Talk about the importance of having goals and dreams with the
class. Share your dreams with the class. Ask students to share
their dreams with the class too.
- Tell the students that you are going to read about a boy who
is persistent in making his dreams come true.
- Show them the cover of Galimoto and ask them to predict what
the story is about and where the story takes place.
- Open the book and read the definition of the word "galimoto."
Show them the model "galimoto" made from wire.
- Discuss the fact that "galimoto" is a Chichewa word from
Malawi. Also read out who this book is dedicated to--"the children
of Nsanje..." Ask a student to locate Malawi on a map. Show the
students where Nsanje is located in Malawi.
- Tell the students to pay close attention to the pictures in
the book that give a good depiction of life in a Malawian village.
They should look at the houses, the clothes, the scenery, and look
at the activities of the people.
- Read Galimoto to the class. Pause after each page to
show all the students the wonderful pictures of village life in
- Discuss the pictures in the book and the different activities
going on in the village.
- Discuss what the boy in Galimoto, Kondi's dream was and
how he achieved it. Ask the students who may not have shared their
goals in the beginning of the lesson to do so now if they
- Ask the students to draw and color a picture of a dream or a
goal they want to achieve. Students must also write a paragraph
about what their goal is and how and maybe when they will achieve
- Ask paper passers to hand out a piece of paper for each
student to draw and write on.
- Did students notice the pictures of the houses, clothes,
scenery and activities in the village? Did they understand reasons
behind activities like grinding the maize (corn) at the mill and
by hand? Did they notice the market day? Did they draw
similarities between life in a Malawian village and life here in
- Did the students describe their dreams and goals using a
paragraph and a picture? Were the paragraphs written
accurately--were paragraphs indented, were sentences grammatical,
did students use capital letters and periods accurately? Did
students draw and color their dream pictures?
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Lesson # 5
Art/Social Studies: Tie and
Estimated Time: 2 sessions of 20 minutes each
- Students will design a piece of cloth or a T-shirt through the
process of tie and dye. Synthesis
- Students will predict what there pattern will turn out to look
- Students will identify tie and dye to be of cultural
significance in African countries. Knowledge
- scissors buckets
- muslin or cotton sheeting raffia
- Rit permanent dye, red and blue beads
- milk bottle tops foot long thin sticks
- Send a letter to parents requesting that they send a T-shirt
that their child can tie-dye.
- If students do not bring a T-shirt provide them with a 1 foot
square piece of muslin.
- On the first day of this lesson show the students a tie-dye
piece of cloth and ask them if they know what the pattern on the
cloth is called and if they knew how it is made.
- Explain the cultural significance of tie-dye in some African
- Tell the students that the art of tie-dye is
flourishing in the West African countries of Nigeria, Ghana,
Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Benin, and Cameroon. Locate
these countries on a map of Africa.
- The Yoruba, in Nigeria call the fabric adire.
- Different kind of patterns are made using tie-dye for
different occasions, e.g., weddings, casual, parties.
- On the first day, demonstrate to the students how to tie their
cloth or T-shirt using raffia, beads, milk tops, or just by
folding or making knots in the material. Then walk around the room
and help children when they are do their tying.
- On the second day, make a bucket of blue dye and red dye.
Follow the instructions of how to make the dye as indicated on the
bottle usually you have to add salt to the dye.
- Ask students to decide if they want to make a red or blue tie
and dye piece. Then individually get the students to immerse their
fabric in the buckets.
- While students are waiting to immerse their fabric get them to
draw a picture of what they think their cloth or T-shirt will turn
- Once all the fabrics have soaked well in the dye, take them
out, rinse them and let dry (a clothes drier will speed up this
- Cut the raffia carefully and undo any beads, milk tops or
- Iron the tie-dye creations.
- Have students successfully created a tie-dye fabric? Did they
use the different materials (milk tops, beads, etc.) to make their
- Did the students draw a close prediction of what they think
their tie-dye fabric will look like?
- Do students now associate tie-dye as being of cultural
significance in some African countries?
Return to the Africa
Return to the 97-98 Exemplary Lesson
(This unit is formatted for the web by Shwu-yi