Africa -- Global Concerns and the African Continent

Your Name: Toni Wlasniewski
School: Reading Jr. Academy
E-mail Address:
Published Date: November 15, 2010
Subject(s): Reading and Geography
Intended Grade Level(s): 7-8

Description: A unit on Africa, with emphasis on how history and culture have contributed to Africa's current role in the global community.

Pathways Theme, Goals, and Skills:
I am not actually using Pathways, but wanted to integrate this theme with a cross-curricular unit.
Pathways theme: My World and Others
Goals emphasized in this unit:
Unit Goals:
1. To learn about the geography, history, and culture of Africa.
2. To recognize the commonality of human experience throughout time and place.
3. To create an understanding of modern-day Africa and its contributions to global developments.
4. To foster a concern for the people of Africa as fellow Christians or in need of the message of hope.

Pathways Goals:
1. Using a cross-curricular approach to literacy.
2. Creating meaning through writing and conversation -- variety of reading, writing, and discussion activities.
3. Reinforcing practice of developmental writing skills -- everything incl. paraphrasing, organizing comparison/contrast, letter writing, etc.
4. Applying reading comprehension and learning strategies to content area subject -- throughout the text, students are guided to using various graphic organizers, charts, graphs.
5. Implementing a variety of assessment tools -- K-W-L, guided reading, follow-up quizzes, chapter tests; rubrics are provided for all activities and projects.
6. Providing a variety of student activities -- whole class, small-group, and individual.

Target skills activities in this unit will be planned most specifically for the following:
1. Extended reading and writing. (All-in-One Teaching Resources, The Great Rift Valley p 116, Comparison/contrast pp 221-223, writing summary, p 351)
2. Comprehending, studying, evaluating. (All-in-One Teaching Resources, Interpreting diagrams of rain forests p 117, sequencing/flow chart p169, creating a circle graph p 313)
3. Practice using primary and reference sources. (All-in-One Teaching Resources, pp 127-128, Anwar Sadat speech pp 270-273, Desmond Tutu, pp 407-408)
4. Word study -- content terminology. (All-in-One Teaching Resources, vocabulary review pp 129, 184, 236, 275, 319, 372, 409)
5. Sentence skills -- capitalization of proper nouns, use of appositives and parenthetical phrases in defining terms. (differentiate between proper and common nouns in terminology lists; worksheets require students to use in sentences and spell correctly)
(More specific skills relating to mechanics will be addressed incidentally rather than planned. DOL sentences can be re-written each week, based on the geography chapter.)

Faith Integration: For historical context, I will use material on missionary/explorer David Livingston,who believed that the Great Commission included the interior of Africa. He claimed Jesus' promise, "I am with you always," as the "Word of a Gentleman" and felt no fear as he ventured into the unknown. He died on his knees in prayer, and the native people had such love for him that, after burying his heart in Africa, they carried his body the long miles to the coast to be taken back to his family in the British Isles.
Our library has several older reading course books on the history of SDA missions, and I have a Mission Spotlight video from fourth quarter 2002 which features Rwanda, the aftermath of the massacre, and subsequent evangelism. I don't know if that program is available any more, but there is a new mission series produced by the church. A sample DVD featuring some stories from Africa can be purchased or viewed on-line at Global Mission For the history and effects of apartheid, I will use the movie "Cry the Beloved Country" and selected portions from DVD's on Nelson Mandela. All emphasize the Christian values of forgiveness and brotherhood in achieving healing and unity for the nation.

(For more description of some of the above resources, go to )

NETS Standards:
#1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity, through (d) modeling collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, etc. in face-to-face and virtual environments.
#2. Design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessment, i.e. (a) design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.

Books, references, worksheets.
Primary Textbook: Prentice Hall. World Studies: Eastern Hemisphere. Boston: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005 The textbook package includes short DVD clips which highlight the information in each chapter and review key learnings. Throughout the textbook are suggested on-line activities that students can pursue, available at These activities offer a wide range of in-depth information or activities that students can do independently, using the specific codes provided in the textbook.

Supplementary Reading: Kallen, Stuart. Kingdoms of Africa. Edino, MN:Abdo Publishers, 2001 (
Read-aloud: Prince Modupe, "I Meet Money," anthologized in old SDA Life Series reading book, Visions and Dreams, pp 39-45.

On-line resource: **Bela Fleck's Africa Project Celebrates the Banjo's Eclectic Musical Path**. This website features world-renowned banjoist Bela Fleck and his travel throughout Africa, the birthplace of the banjo, connecting with people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It demonstrates the unifying role of music, as he is able to relate immediately and join in with their music, no matter how different in style from Western music. It also provides insight into the various life styles and acquaints students with traditional homemade instruments and the level of expertise required to play what seem very crude and simplistic. Includes documentary Throw Down Your Heart.

A DVD series on Africa produced by National Geographic Desert Odyssey features the unique experiences of modern-day Africans. In this episode, a young Tuareg boy sets off on his first six-month camel caravan trek. Another in the series, Mountains of Faith, is set in Ethiopia. These are good resources, but very long.


All-in-One Teaching Resources -- Prentice Hall World Studies Africa (also available on Teacher Express CD-ROM). This complete resource companion to the textbook contains lesson plans, reading and skills support, enrichment material, activities and projects, along with assessment rubrics, quizzes, and tests.

On-line access needed for PHSchool interactive activities. bookmarks many of the sites referenced in this lesson plan.

Teacher Preparation:
Gather a supply of reference materials about Africa that students can use -- National Geographic magazines, atlases, maps, books at various reading levels, issues of Adventist World, to name a few.
Create an account on Glogster and list students. Provide students with password.
This site provides a variety of resources and suggestions for teaching about life in Africa today. Most of the books seem for younger ages, but presentation can be adapted to various ages. Teacher resources @ the Hunger Site

Student Preparation:
Students need to know how to access the internet to find information. They then need to learn how to use that information for presentation -- either follow instructions or tutorials for using various on-line sites such as glogster, animoto, etc.; or how to download data and images to use with computer programs such as Word PowerPoint and other forms of Publisher. They will find their computer class and fellow students the best resource for learning how to do these things.

Obviously, these activities cannot be accomplished in Geography class alone, but most of the targeted reading skills can be done during language arts time two or three times a week.

Class Outline
Chapter 11 -- (2 weeks)
Overview: Africa's Physical Geography (Africa's four regions, major landforms, rivers, climate, effects on lifestyle, and economy)
This chapter provides a base of reference for succeeding chapters.
Target reading skill: Reread to find connections and clarify ideas.
Terminology: plateau, elevation, rift, tributary, fertile, irrigate, drought, oasis, savanna, nomad, subsistence farming, cash crop, economy, diversity.

Students read material and complete guided reading worksheets for each of three sections (All-in-One Teaching Resources pp 101, 102, 106, 109, 110.)
Class Activity: Students cover an outline map of Africa with clay or playdough, creating a relief map and indicating major rivers, mountain ranges, the great rift valley.
Teacher demonstration:Interdisciplinary simulation of overgrazing, using a box, sod, sand, and blow-dryer. (All-in-One Teaching Resources pp 122-123

Begin on-going group River Project (three weeks): Divide into four groups to research each of the four major rivers (Nile, Zambezi, Niger, Congo) and produce a presentation (using Glogster or PowerPoint) showing what life is like along the river. Research should include geography, history, people, trade, and farming. Resources should include reference books, encyclopedias, atlases, and the Internet. Work together to divide the work and organize the information in a clear and logical way. Find pictures to illustrate. Each team member should be assigned a specific section to write. (All-in-One Teaching Resources pp 118-120.)

Chapter 12 -- (2 weeks)
Overview: Africa: Shaped by Its History (Ancient civilizations, kingdoms, city states, empires, European conquest, independence, current challenges )
Target reading skill: Set a purpose for reading; read to meet that purpose.
Terminology:domesticate, civilization, migrate, ethnic group, Swahili, city-state, pilgrimage, Tombouctou, Cape of Good Hope, plantation, Olaudah Equiano, colonize, nationalism, Pan-Africanism, boycott, democracy, commercial farming, hybrid, literate, life expectancy
Current Challenges (Global Concerns): Economic Stability (farming, use of natural resources, specialization vs. diversification), Social Issues (education, health), Environmental issues (this site has a reading selection and asks students to make up a quiz to share based on the reading).

Students read material and complete guided reading worksheets for each of five sections (All-in-One Teaching Resources pp 144, 145, 149, 152-153, 157, 160-161.)
Go to Ghana to chart cause-effect. Use flow-chart to take notes on reading.
Individual Oral report: Research ancient African kingdom, present as oral report (3 periods) (All-in-One Teaching Resources, pp 170-172)
Group Projects: Galimodo and/or mini-museum exhibit, incl. African masks; write skit depicting this fable , or a different African folk tale of your choosing.

[Chapter 13 -- Cultures of Africa (divide and study each section as introduction to next four chapters)]

Begin Final Individual Project: Select country of Africa not featured in next four chapters. Create a multimedia presentation, including each of the current challenges -- (1) Economic Stability, (2) Education, (3) Health, (4) Environment Issues, and (5) Government, as well as references to History and People.
Use a variety of media to make presentation. Required content: SDA [or student's denomination] presence in country, physical geography,history, culture, government, and economics. Check the status of current challenges (Global Concerns). Media suggestions: music, ABC book, travelogue with PowerPoint or Animoto, poster made with Glogster [or on paper], diorama, oral presentation, photographs.

Chapter 14 (13, sec. 1) -- (1 1/2 weeks)
North Africa -- Egypt and Algeria
Target reading skills: comparison/contrast, identifying cause-effect,
Terminology: culture, Quran, cultural diffusion, Cairo, Sharia, bazaar, fellaheen, souq, casbah, terrace.

Make graphic organizer to compare similarities and differences between different North African groups.
For on-line update on all five countries, go to PHSchool World Desk Reference or PHSchool activity on Egyptian news which asks students to summarize a news article to be used in class newspaper on Egypt. (Required: Try out at least two PHSchool links during the rest of this unit)

Chapter 15 (13, sec. 2) -- (1 1/2 weeks)
West Africa -- Nigeria, Ghana, Mali
Target reading skills: Recognizing main ideas, stated and implied and identifying supporting details.
Terminology: kinship, nuclear family, extended family, lineage, clan, multiethnic, Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Kwame Nkrumah, sovereignty, coup d'etat, desertification, overgrazing.

Identify divisive and unifying elements in Nigeria and how they have impacted development of democratic government. Write a news article celebrating that Ghana is the first West African country to gain independence. Go to PHSchool World Desk Reference for updated information about any of the countries in this chapter. Share with the class.

Chapter 16 (13, sec. 3)-- (1 1/2 weeks)
East Africa -- Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya
Target reading skills: Using context clues to figure out meaning; interpreting figurative language.
Terminology: Swahili(r), heritage, monastery, Geez, lingua franca, privatization, multiparty system, Kikuyu, Maasai, semi-nomadic, harambee.

Trace the roots of Christianity in Ethiopia and read account of the baptism of the Ethiopian official in Acts. Find pictures of Ethiopia's underground churches. Construct circle graph similar to one on page 517, except show the distribution of religious groups. Identify the challenges faced by a newly independent Tanzania and how they have made progress meeting them. Compare the lives of rural and urban people in Kenya.

Chapter 17 (13, sec. 4) -- (1 1/2 weeks)
Central and Southern Africa -- Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa
Target reading skills: Understanding sequence signals
Terminology: migrant worker, compound, authoritarian government, nationalize, apartheid, discriminate, Nelson Mandela.

Identify the resources available in the Congo and how they are beginning to use them more productively. Sequence the events from independence through dictatorship to the reforms of Joseph Kabila. Research current status of these reforms and achievement of peace in the Congo. Activity -- analyzing primary sources (pp 554-555). White rule and inequality in South Africa. End to apartheid and rebuilding the nation. Discuss effect of economic sanctions and de Klerk's reforms. Research and compare the roles of Nelson Mandela, Stephen Biko and Desmond Tutu in the independence movement. Videos: Cry the Beloved Country and Nelson Mandela, both cited above.

Field Trips: The local museum Reading Public Museum has artifacts from Africa on display. An earlier field trip in October, before the weather got too cold, was to an animal refuge called Lake Tobias On a safari ride, students were able to get up close and personal with a variety of animals, including Maasai cattle, water buffalo, and several antelope. We can refer to that experience when we study the Maasai people of Kenya in chapter 16, sec. 3 of the textbook, and other sections which link overgrazing and desertification, a major environmental crisis in Africa today.

Art Project -- African Crafts -- making a galimodo This site, an entry point for studying Africa, features detailed directions for making a galimodo (a toy vehicle made from scrap materials). The lesson plan is geared to 3rd or 4th grades, but would work equally well as an art project for any grade level.

Differentiated Instruction:
For ELL students -- pair with native speakers to review use of pronouns and antecedents in reading the textbook and learning vocabulary terms.

Less proficient readers and special needs students -- partner with more able students for group work and creating diagrams, charts, etc.
Use reading strategies such as "Oral Cloze," "Structured Silent Reading," "Paragraph Shrinking" -- all detailed in the front of the textbook.

Advanced readers -- encourage exploration of on-line activities and projects. Do enrichment activities from All-in-One Teaching Resource.

Assessment -- Plan tests so that most basic questions are at the beginning and that struggling students are assessed mainly on these questions. Use the less challenging test for struggling students.

Multiple Intelligences:
Linguistic intelligence is a given, considering the use of the textbook and guided reading activity sheets. Beyond that, students will use a variety of books and on-line sources to research material for report on a selected country. Some options will include writing a skit or powerpoint program to illustrate African folk tales.

Logical intelligence: Use to read in further depth as suggested in the textbook and create charts or graphs to illustrate statistical data. For example, go to to find an article on Nigeria's use of petroleum. Other subjects of interest could be current statistics on poaching endangered wildlife and the status of the tree planting projects, see Conservation in Africa. Logical intelligence will also contribute to the galimodo art project.

Musical intelligence: The documentary mentioned above, "Bela Fleck's Africa Project," is a documentary covering the varieties of African music and traditional instruments and their connections to modern music. Another source of traditional African music is the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. A CD produced by Warner Brothers Ladysmith Black Mambazo features several familiar hymns and African folk songs in both English and native languages, with the lyrics provided (appreciated by the linguistic learners).

Visual spatial: These students will be able to use time lines to represent chronological developments. All students will participate on art-related projects -- making a galimodo (group project) and researching African Masks Information and creating African Masks Art Project, which will be incorporated into a mini-museum gallery (All-in-One Teaching Resources, pp 81-83).

Kinesthetic: Creating clay relief map of Africa. Virtual field trips African Continent. Performing skit illustrating African folk tale.

Classroom: My classroom is full of student desks, and walls are covered by windows, library shelves, and other furniture. We are departmentalized, so students shift throughout the day. I also share with another teacher a few periods a week. Display space (bulletin board) is limited to 1/2 of a wall, and direct line of vision to that is partially obscured. There is a world map suspended from the ceiling within reach of my "pointer" stick. I have a white board in the front on which I can project computer images when I have access to the projector, and there is a television with VHS and DVD players in one corner. My student desks are flat-topped, light-weight, and have no storage compartment, so they can easily be reconfigured for group work. But there is no discrete area for a learning center or for individual work. Students have no access to computers in my room, but there is a separate computer lab with lap-tops where they have internet access on a limited basis. I can make arrangements with the computer teacher for students to work on my class projects in connection with computer class.

Pre-assessment: informal discussion, Reading Readiness Guides (K-W-L) (All-in-One Teaching Resources pp 101,105,109, etc. for further chapters)
Section quizzes are provided in the All-in-One Teaching Resources (ch 12, pp 103, 107, 111, similar for further chapters)
Two tests are provided for each chapter, A (easier) and B. A test-bank is also available on the Teacher Express CD-ROM. I adapt the resource material and create my own tests, but the files for these are currently inaccessible because of a computer problem, so all I have to use are my photocopy masters, which I cannot link to this lesson plan page.
At the end of each chapter students are directed to go on-line to take a practice test, such as this one over Chapter 12 self-test

Rubrics for oral presentations, writing assignments, posters, and circle and bar graphs (All-in-One Teaching Resources pp. 95,130,131, 173, 185-190, 320)
(1) Group River Project -- (rubric in All-in-One Teaching Resources p 121) can be used to assess both individual contribution and groups as a whole.
(2) Creating masks and displaying them in "mini-museum gallery" -- individual and group rubrics from All-in-One Teaching Resources, pp 84-86.
(3) Final project. The rubric below will be used to assess the final, multimedia project:

Credits: I believe I have fully credited all source materials referenced. I am not aware of any other influences.