Many Countries, Many Cultures:

AFRICA

Mini-Unit

by

Anisha Jogee


Lesson #1 K-W-L on Africa

Estimated Time: 40 minutes

Objectives:

In order to build on students prior knowledge about the African continent this lesson will accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Students will reflect on what they know about the African continent. (Evaluation)
  2. Students will reflect on what they want to know about the African continent. (Evaluation)

Materials:

Procedures:

  1. Tell the students that as a class we are "going" to visit African countries for the next two weeks.
  2. 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.
  3. Set down guidelines for contributing to the K-W-L chart:
    1. Students should raise their hands.
    2. Students must listen to other questions and comments being made.
    3. Students must not comment on any of the questions. This will be done once the unit begins.
    4. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. End the lesson by grouping similar questions so that the class has some general areas of inquiry, e.g. languages, weather, physical geography, etc.

Evaluation (informal):

  1. Students as a class will contribute the information they think they already have about Africa.
  2. Students as a class will pose information they want to find out about Africa.

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Lesson #2

Geography: Let's Get to Know the Continent of Africa

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Objectives:

  1. Students will appreciate the vast size of the African continent by comparing its size to other continents. (Knowledge)
  2. 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)
  3. Students will organize their maps using colors, symbols, and clear labels. (Application).
  4. 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).
  5. Students will use the equator as a reference point, and compass directions to locate places on a map. (Application)

Materials:

Procedures:

  1. 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 from.
  2. Call on a volunteer to point out the continent of Africa on the world map.
  3. 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:
    1. 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 three times!
    2. Location of Africa on the world map.
    3. Oceans that surround the continent of Africa
  4. 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 together.
  5. Refer to a map of Africa by itself. Ask the children what specific information this map would give us:
    1. Number of countries. Get the children to count silently how many countries there are in Africa (49).
    2. 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.
    3. After tracing around each country and naming it ask the students approximately where this country is--north, south, east, west or central Africa?
  6. 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:
    1. Deserts - Sahara, Kalahari
    2. Lakes - Victoria, Nyasa, Tanganyika
    3. Rivers - Nile, Niger, Zambezi
    4. Mountains - Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Atlas
  7. 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.

Evaluation:

  1. 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 Africa?
  2. Students should label and trace their maps of Africa accurately.
  3. Students should reproduce their maps in an organized fashion using representative colors and symbols for physical features. Labeling must also be clear.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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Lesson #3:

Geography/Language Arts: Visual Presentations by

Cooperative Groups on Five African Countries

Estimated Time: 1 Hour one day, 30 minutes another day

Objectives:

  1. Students will demonstrate their ability to work in groups cooperatively. (Application)
  2. Students will demonstrate ability to work with a CD-ROM program. (Knowledge)
  3. Students compile data on a country through research. (Synthesis)
  4. Students will produce a presentation of a country on a poster board. (Application)

Materials:

Procedures:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 their volume.
  4. Divide students into country committees of 4-5 (make this list up before hand, try to have the second and third graders work together).
  5. 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.
  6. 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 the country.
  7. 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.
  8. Hand out the group responsibility sheets and encourage each member to read out what their role is.
  9. 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.
  10. When students feel comfortable in using the Atlas program, rotate around the class to comment on and guide the children with their research.
  11. After students have finished with their country posters and given a report to the class (a day later) display the posters on a bulletin board.

Evaluation:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. Are the students able to locate specific information about their countries? Are they looking at different sources to find information?
  4. 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 country?

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Lesson #4:

Social Studies/Language and Literacy:

Responding to Galimoto by Karen Williams

Estimated Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. Students will gain an understanding of life in a Malawian village by looking at the pictures in Galimoto. (Knowledge)
  2. Students will produce a picture and a paragraph describing their dreams and goals. (Application)

Materials:

Procedures:

  1. 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.
  2. Tell the students that you are going to read about a boy who is persistent in making his dreams come true.
  3. Show them the cover of Galimoto and ask them to predict what the story is about and where the story takes place.
  4. Open the book and read the definition of the word "galimoto." Show them the model "galimoto" made from wire.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Read Galimoto to the class. Pause after each page to show all the students the wonderful pictures of village life in Nsanje.
  8. Discuss the pictures in the book and the different activities going on in the village.
  9. 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 wished.
  10. 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 it.
  11. Ask paper passers to hand out a piece of paper for each student to draw and write on.

Evaluation:

  1. 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 the US?
  2. 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 Dye

Estimated Time: 2 sessions of 20 minutes each

Objectives:

  1. Students will design a piece of cloth or a T-shirt through the process of tie and dye. Synthesis
  2. Students will predict what there pattern will turn out to look like. Comprehension
  3. Students will identify tie and dye to be of cultural significance in African countries. Knowledge

Materials:

Procedures:

  1. Send a letter to parents requesting that they send a T-shirt that their child can tie-dye.
  2. If students do not bring a T-shirt provide them with a 1 foot square piece of muslin.
  3. 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.
  4. Explain the cultural significance of tie-dye in some African countries:
    1. 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.
    2. The Yoruba, in Nigeria call the fabric adire.
    3. Different kind of patterns are made using tie-dye for different occasions, e.g., weddings, casual, parties.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 out like.
  9. 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 process).
  10. Cut the raffia carefully and undo any beads, milk tops or sticks used.
  11. Iron the tie-dye creations.

Evaluations:

  1. Have students successfully created a tie-dye fabric? Did they use the different materials (milk tops, beads, etc.) to make their patterns?
  2. Did the students draw a close prediction of what they think their tie-dye fabric will look like?
  3. Do students now associate tie-dye as being of cultural significance in some African countries?


Return to the Africa unit page
Return to the 97-98 Exemplary Lesson Plans page
(This unit is formatted for the web by Shwu-yi Leu)