Explore Our World: Africa – Unit Study Wrap-up

Where did the summer go?  I completely forgot to summarize our activities each week during our unit study Explore Our World : AFRICA.  We were actively engaged in a variety of learning activities but as the summer progressed, other obligations began to conflict with our plans and my neighbor and I were not able to get together as often.  Not surprisingly, I also neglected to take many photos!

Week 3 :: Western Africa

  • Key Points – Region more diverse ecologically than Northern Africa.  Many European nations had colonies in this area.  The cultures are more settled (as opposed to nomadic) and thereby agricultural cultures dominate.
  • Read aloud Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears by Verna Aardema and created a crayon resist of a savannah animal
  • Did a comparison (Venn diagram) of Little Red Hen by JP Miller and Talking Vegetables by Won-Ldy Paye & Margaret Lippert
  • Discussed the meaning of onomatopoeia
  • Sampled cassava chips
  • Began a mini-book of African animals
  • Played several games of Mancala
  • Enjoyed listening to music from Western Africa with African Playground CD.

Week 4 :: Western Africa, cont.

  • Key Points – Slavery was once prominent here –> huge impact on economy –> formerly rich region now poor.  Masks are a key component/feature in festivals and ceremonies.
  • Read aloud In the Rainfield by Ann Grifalconi, Mrs Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile by Won-Ldy Paye, Talk Talk, Why the Sky is Far Away and Anansi and the Talking Melon
  • Painted an animal in Naïve style of Ghana and read aloud Man Who Painted the Sky (illustrated in a similar style)
  • Began a mini-book of African style homes
  • Cooked Benne Cakes (a recipe from the Malinke) and sampled dates and chocolate from West Africa
  • Enjoyed listening to music from Western Africa with African Playground CD. 
  • Watched a Schlessinger media video on Ancient Africa.

Weeks 5 & 6 :: Eastern Africa

  • Key Points – Animal / Wildlife Reserves prominent in Eastern Africa.  Water is a valued resource for life.  Differences and similarities among daily use of water in Africa and in the United States.  Mt. Kilamanjaro.  Lake Victoria – source of the Nile River.  Madagasgar has unique (endemic).
  • Did a water comparison study.
  • Read aloud Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, Trouble, The Good Lion, Young Mouse and the Elephant, The Lonely Lioness, Rain Makes a Monkey of Lion, We All Want a Safari, Count Your Way Through Kenya and Kenya A-Z
  • Enjoyed listening to music from Western Africa with African Playground CD. 
  • Created beaded bracelets inspired by Maasai.

Week 7 :: Central Africa

  • Key Points – Ethiopia considered the cradle of civility, so many fossils, etc.  Birthplace of coffee.  Region is dominated by rainforest.  All countries are former colonies of European countries.
  • Played a thumb piano or mbira on PBS Kids.
  • Read aloud The Elephant’s Wrestling Match
  • The kids wrote their own African fable.

Week 8 :: Southern Africa

  • Key Points – Apartheid.  Nelson Mandela.  Desmond Tutu.
  • Read aloud Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, A Child’s Day in a South African City, Marriage of the Rain Goddess, Count Your Way Through Zimbabwe, The Girl Who Spun Gold
  • Put together lapbooks with all the mini-books we had begun
Check out my Hub page for more information about our Africa Unit Study

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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