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West and Central Africa Lesson

Updated on March 10, 2015
Watercolor painting of animals found in the Congo
Watercolor painting of animals found in the Congo

This is part 3 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. Make watercolor paintings of the animals of the Congo, taste Nigerian chin chin, fufu, and Ground Nut Soup, make Nigerian-style tie-dye shirts, hunt like a Pygmy and act out the Pygmy Honey Dance, and more in this fun lesson focusing mainly on Nigeria & the Congo! My lessons are geared toward 4th-5th grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons I created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 33 children between the ages of 1-13. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, family, after school program, or co-op!

God's word is sweeter than honey.
God's word is sweeter than honey.

Devotional on Gold, Honey, & God's Word

1. Pray. Read & discuss Psalm 19:7-11. You can say something like: Just like our parents, God gives us lots of words of advice, too. We can find them all in this Bible. The word of God, which we find in the Bible, first revives us, then it makes us wise, brings joy (or makes us happy), gives us clear direction, and creates a new attitude in our hearts based on God's righteous justice. When we become Christians, we rejoice in God’s truth, walk with fear and reverence in obedience to Him, and find security in God’s Word based on God's justice and righteousness.

-God’s Words are more precious than pure gold. [Hold up your gold.] What did we talk about last week in regards to gold? Would you like to have all the gold they had in West Africa? God says His Word is better than all that gold! This means that the word of God is like a treasure. Have you ever considered the word of God a treasure in your life?

-God’s word is also sweeter than honey. [Hold up your honey.] Who likes honey? Most of us are just like Winnie the Pooh. We like honey. Foods taste better when mixed with honey. Did you know that honey doesn’t only taste good? It is also good for our health. It contains vitamins and minerals, can be used for treating allergies, sore throats, and cuts. Honey is not only good to our taste buds, but it is good for our bodies as well. We don’t think much about getting honey. You just buy it from the store. Today we’re going to study about the pygmies. They don’t sweeten their food with sugar like us. They sweeten it with honey. They don’t buy the honey from stores. They get it from bee hives. The bee hives they get it from aren’t just sitting in a field like we see around Live Oak. They are in trees that are 130 feet high! The pygmies will climb 130 feet into a tree, walk out on a limb 130 feet above the ground, all the while getting stung by angry bees, just to get some sweet honeycomb for their tribe! Don’t you think they consider that honey to be pretty special? The word of God is better than honey. It is sweeter than honey. Have you ever thought about the word of God as something sweet? Of course, we can’t really “taste” the word of God literally, but we can understand that our experiences in studying and obeying the word of God could help us “taste” its sweetness. It’s sweet to know that through Jesus God has removed the bitterness of sin from our hearts. We also get nourishment in God’s Word to sustain that sweetness day after day as we study His word.

-The reward of studying God’s word is to be protected from the danger of sin as we receive mercy through the work of Christ Jesus.

YOU WILL NEED: honey and "gold" (can be fake gold like toy jewelry)


Onions, bell peppers, and garlic
Onions, bell peppers, and garlic

Nigerian Ground Nut Stew (Part 1)

2. Have the children begin making Nigerian Ground Nut Stew. Say something like: Today we will be studying Nigeria. In some Nigerian villages, the women have to get up before the sun rises to collect sticks to make a fire to begin making food for their families. We’re going to start making some of the food we will be eating today. Who remembers what the former missionary said they dip their rice into in Mali? (A peanut sauce) We’re going to make something similar. It’s called “Nigerian Ground Nut Stew” because it’s made with peanuts. Who knows where peanuts grow? (As roots in the ground) In Nigeria some of the people call peanuts “ground nuts.” The first thing we are going to add are some vegetables. We’ll put them over our fire to soften them. [Hold up your container of vegetables.] Who can recognize what chopped vegetables are in here? [onions, bell peppers, and garlic] Many African dishes have lots of onions especially.

-Walk from one child to the next. Let the first 3 children each pour in a tablespoon of oil. Swirl it around the pan and tell them this will help keep the vegetables from sticking to the pot.

-Let each additional child scoop a mixing spoon full of vegetables into the pot. Make sure each child has a turn putting something into the pot. (If there are still vegetables remaining, just toss them into the pot yourself.)

-Tell the children that you are going to sauté or cook them to soften then before we add the additional ingredients. They now will need to find Nigeria on their maps.

-You will sauté the vegetables while the children do additional activities.

YOU WILL NEED: 1 large stock pot, mixing spoon, pair of oven mitts or hot pads, cooking oil (at least 2 tablespoons), 2 medium chopped onions, 2 large chopped bell peppers, & 4 minced cloves of garlic

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 45 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: 10 meal-sized servings or 30 sample size servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 medium chopped onions
  • 2 large chopped bell peppers
  • 4 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (not drained)
  • 8 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 2/3 cup extra crunchy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Cook onions and bell peppers until lightly browned and tender, stirring in garlic when almost done to prevent burning. Stir in tomatoes, stock/broth, pepper, and chili powder. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir in peanut butter until well blended, and serve.
5 stars from 2 ratings of Nigerian Ground Nut Soup
Finding Nigerian on the map - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleHarrisonPhotography
Finding Nigerian on the map - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleHarrisonPhotography

Review & Nigeria

3. Have children take out atlases or maps and find Africa. Quickly review North Africa & Western Coastal Bulge by asking a few questions to review those areas. Have them locate Nigeria on their maps. Because of its location, how might life in Nigeria be different from or similar to life in Ghana? from Egypt?

YOU WILL NEED: children's atlases

4. Read a story about life in Nigeria, "Chidi Only Likes Blue" by Ifeoma Onyefulu.

YOU WILL NEED: book on Nigeria

It's a Big Big World
It's a Big Big World

This is our favorite atlas to use. It's large enough so that a group/classroom can see it, and it includes relevant features to each map (i.e. pyramids in Egypt, diamonds in South Africa, etc.). My children love flipping through this atlas.

 
Chidi Only Likes Blue: An African Book of Colours
Chidi Only Likes Blue: An African Book of Colours

Ifeoma Onyefulu has written a number of EXCELLENT books that tell of life in Nigeria from the perspective of children. This was our favorite one overall, but I would highly recommend the others by the same author including titles such as "Emeka's Gift," "Here Comes Our Bride!: An African Wedding Story," "An African Christmas," "Welcome Dede! An African Naming Ceremony," and others.

 
Chicken broth
Chicken broth

Nigerian Ground Nut Stew (Part 2)

5. Have children add remaining ingredients (except peanut butter) to Nigerian Ground Nut Stew.

-Allow first child to use a can opener to open up crushed tomatoes and then dump them into the pot. *Remind each child that the pot is HOT!* The next child will add in 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. The next child will add in 1/4 teaspoon chili powder. Have the remaining children each add about ½ cup of chicken broth/stock. (You can add in any remaining chicken broth/stock.)

-As the children are taking turns pouring in the chicken broth/stock, ask them if they know how chicken stock is made. If no one knows, tell them you usually cook a whole chicken, remove the meat to eat, and then put the bones back into a pot of water. You might add some salt, vegetables, and/or herbs or seasonings. Then you let it simmer, cook on low, for at least an hour or more, to let the chicken flavor from the bones seep into the water. After that you remove the bones, skim off any fat that is at the top, and if you seasoned it well enough, you will have delicious chicken stock. Ask the children if they know what the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth is. We just described how to make chicken stock. You use the bones. Chicken broth is made from the meat. Who has ever cooked chicken, or watched after your mom has cooked chicken, and seen lots of liquid all around the chicken? That is chicken broth. It’s not going to be as rich tasting as chicken stock, but it can still be used in the same way.

-After all the ingredients have been added to the pot, put it back on the stove. Cook it on low and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. (You can just leave it on the stove unattended.)

YOU WILL NEED: can opener, 1 (28 ounce) (not drained), 8 cups chicken broth or stock, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, measuring spoons, & liquid measuring cup

Talking drum from Nigeria (in front) and drum from Uganda (jn back) - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class
Talking drum from Nigeria (in front) and drum from Uganda (jn back) - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Talking Drums

6. (Optional) Nigerians (and the Ashanti people of Ghana) used to use talking drums to send messages. Show children an African drum. Can the children figure out how they change the sound? They changed the sound of the drum by increasing the tension of the drum head. This is done by squeezing the lacing on the sides of the drum with their arms and body as they held the drum under their arm. If possible, demonstrate this on the drums.

(*We borrowed one from someone who owned an African drum, but you can make one if needed. Use a hot-glue gun tape 2 clay bots together at their bottoms. Stretch a piece of a leather like a chamois/shammy over the top and bottom. Use a nail or other instrument to pierce holes around the outside edges of the leather. String strong string between the top and bottom leather pieces.*)

YOU WILL NEED: drum

Nigerian Tie-Dye

7. Explain to the children that Nigerians (and Cameroonians) frequently wear tie-dyed fabric, which they have been wearing for a few hundred years. The Yoruba people of Southwest Nigerian would die cotton fabric in the Adire pattern. They would create huge pits of indigo dye made from Indigofera plants, which grow there and can be boiled to produce a dark blue color. To create Adire patterns, they would tightly fold and tie various parts of the fabric with string around seeds, stones, or sticks before dying it.

-We will use royal blue fabric dye because it is the closest color to the Nigerians’ indigo blue color.

-Instead of using sticks and stones tied with string, we’ll use rubber bands. Wherever the rubber band is on your shirt, it will remain white. Wherever you don’t have a rubber band, your shirt will turn blue. The more places you tie up, the more designs you will have.

-Let children place rubber bands on their shirts. Assist younger children if they need it and encourage older children to help younger children.

-As children finish, parents will place the shirts into the dye bath of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Parents will use tongs to remove the shirts and rinse them in cold water in the sink. The shirts will have to dry at home. Read these directions ahead of time on how to tie-dye: http://www.ehow.com/how_2283899_tie-dye-using-rit-powder.html . (We will only be using 1 color.) *If we are not able to get pots for boiling the shirts, the parents will put the shirts in buckets of boiling water mixed with dye and will leave them there for 15-30 minutes before rinsing them.

YOU WILL NEED: 2 bottles of RIT royal/dark blue dye (sold near the laundry detergent) [for 30 children], large stainless steel pot or pails that can used for dye (not to be used with food), tongs, & rubber/latex gloves, shirts, & rubber bands

Nigerian chin chin
Nigerian chin chin

Nigerian Chin Chin

8. How many meals do we normally eat each day? What do we call those meals? (breakfast, lunch, supper/dinner) Most Nigerians eat 2 meals a day. They refer to their main meal as chop & to their snacks as small chop. A favorite small chop is chin chin. Try some. What do you think it is made from? (flour, sugar, nutmeg, and an egg and then deep-friend in oil)

YOU WILL NEED: chin chin (We purchased some from an African store, but you can also make by following the recipe for Nigerian Chin Chin found at http://www.food.com/recipe/chin-chin-385472 .) napkins, and hand sanitizer

Crunchy peanut butter
Crunchy peanut butter

Nigerian Ground Nut Stew (Part 3)

9. Show the children the stew. Ask, “Who remembers what we call this stew?” If it’s Ground Nut Stew, we need the ground nuts, which we call peanuts. In Nigeria they would use their mortar and pestle to ground up their peanuts, but I just bought them from the store already ground. [Show your peanut butter.] Stir in 1 cup of crunchy peanut butter.

-Take the stew back to the kitchen and divide the stew into 28 bowls.

-Have another teacher/mom prepare cups of water.

-Pass them out to the children as the teacher/parent speaks about fufu.

YOU WILL NEED: 3/4 cup crunchy (NOT creamy) peanut butter, disposable bowls, & small cups for water

Fufu
Fufu

Nigerian Fufu, Ground Nut Stew, & Review

10. Ask, “What would you normally use to eat the stew?” (a spoon) Who remembers what the former missionary to Mali said they use in Mali to eat their peanut sauce? (rice scooped up with their right hand) Instead of rice, the people of Nigeria sometimes use fufu to eat their stews, soups, and sauces. Fufu is a favorite food of Western Africa. In Nigeria it is frequently made from cassava, yams and/or plantains (the banana-like food we tried last week) and is pounded in a wooden mortar and pestle. If someone has brought a mortar and pestle, show it to the children. The ones the Africans use would be half as tall as one of them (the children). Fufu is frequently eaten with Ground Nut Stew. (If you’d like to read more about fufu, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fufu .)

-Pass out 2 pieces to each child. Tell them that they are going to use only their right hand to tear off a bite-sized piece of the fufu, shape it into a ball, make an indentation in it, and use it to scoop up the stew. *Remind the children that the stew will be hot!*

-As children are getting soup and starting to taste it, review what we learned about Nigeria by asking questions such as: What is this soup called? (Ground Nut Stew) What do we call ground nuts? (peanuts) What color did the Yoruba people die their clothing? (indigo blue) What do they call their meals? (chop) What is one of their favorite small chops, or snacks? (chin chin) What do they use instead of spoons to eat their stews, soups, and sauces? (fufu)

-Tell children to keep their napkins and water.

YOU WILL NEED: this recipe for fufu http://www.food.com/recipe/fufu-198020 but instead of leaving it in 1 large ball, divide it into at least 30 walnut-sized balls. You can store it covered in the refrigerator.

More Great Books on Nigeria

Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky by Elphinstone Dayrell is another good Nigerian pourquoi tale explains why the water stays on the earth and the sun and moon stay in the sky. Lake Of the Big Snake by Isaac Olaleye is a good picture book about 2 young boys who venture out into the forests of Nigeria and encounter a large snake. The book does a nice job of showing what life is like in rural Nigeria. The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi is also a good story book that describes daily life in a rural African village, explaining why men and women in the village live in separate houses. (It takes place in Cameroon rather than Nigeria, though.)

Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa
Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa

This is the true story of a woman who explored Nigeria and other parts of Africa in the late 1800's. It is a 32 page picture book that even my 3 year old enjoyed.

 
Why The Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale
Why The Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale

This Nigerian pourquoi tale explains how the Nigerians waste and greed caused the sky to move far away.

 
Pygmy family with a European explorer.
Pygmy family with a European explorer. | Source

Democratic Republic of the Congo & Plantains

11. Mention that we will now be moving into the middle of Africa: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Point to it on a large map. Ask, “What do you think the weather and land are like there?” The land contains many huge rain forests with high canopies of tress and muddy floors.

YOU WILL NEED: large map of Africa

12. Ask for 2 volunteers: 1 child who is about 4 feet and the tallest child in the class. Have the tallest child stand on a chair. In the DRC live 4-foot Pygmies, who are about this person’s size when they are full grown adults and 7 foot Watusi, who are about this size (the child standing on the chair). Ask, “Why do you think they are such dramatically different sizes?” (genetics, tribes staying secluded, nutrition, etc. Some scientists say it is because they have a genetic mutation that causes them to not go through one of the childhood growth spurts that is common among most people.)

Baked plantains - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class
Baked plantains - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Democratic Republic of Congo Plantains

13. Show children a plantain and ask what it is. In the Congo live 4-feet Pygmies who live in the jungle. They spend their days hunting in the jungle. Before they go on a hunt, they eat plantains cooked over charcoals every single morning for breakfast. Pass out a couple pieces of baked plantain to each child. After they have tried the plantains, allow children to throw away all their trash.

MATERIALS: 1 plantain and baked plantains prepared according to this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/Oven-Baked-Sweet-Plantains-80130 (If desired you can bake at home in the morning or bake them at co-op, but please try to serve them warm.)

Watercolor painting of a red-billed firefinch bird from the Congo - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class
Watercolor painting of a red-billed firefinch bird from the Congo - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Watercolor Painting of Animals in the Congo

14. (If you are not limited by time), allow the children to create watercolor paintings of some of the animals that live in the rain forests of the Congo and DRC. The Congo is filled with many incredible creatures. Show pictures of a hippo and crocodile. Ask, "How has God designed these animals for their river environment? Where are their eyes, noses, and ears located? Why?" Show a picture of a gorilla. Show a picture of chimpanzees. Ask, "How does a long tail help in the trees? Show pictures of some of the birds found along the Congo River (great hornbill, cormorants, egrets, storks, black-headed herons, red-billed firefinch, etc.). Have children use watercolors to paint one of the animals found in or near the Congo River.

YOU WILL NEED: watercolor paints, paintbrushes, papers, and pictures of animals

***If you are teaching a group of more than 15 children, divide the children into 2 groups. Have each group do the activities in a station and then rotate with the other group.***

Hunting forest elephants - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class
Hunting forest elephants - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Pygmy Hunting (Station 1)

15a. These rainforests where the Pygmies live are filled with lots of animals like chimpanzees, bonobos (a type of ape), gorillas, okapis (which look like a combination of a giraffe and a zebra), leopards, forest elephants (which are smaller than the huge African elephants found on the savannahs in Southern Africa), and many other species.

MATERIALS: show pictures of animals from books or the computer

15b. (Prep: Ahead of time tie a net outdoors or tape a net to the door that we enter in. Tape two pictures of an elephant to the net. These will be targets.) Even though Pygmies are tiny, they are well known for being very effective hunters of forest elephants. The Mbuti (Em-boo-tee) are Pygmy tribe who hunt with poison-tipped arrows. They will hang a wall of nets in one end of the forest while the rest of the tribe makes noise and drives game into the net from the other end of the forest. They then use spears or bows and arrows tipped with poison to kill the animal that gets caught in the net. They have dogs that help them hunt. They tie bells to their dogs. Why do you think they do that? (So they won’t shoot their dogs with poison arrows.)

-Select 2 children to be the "elephants." Have the other children be the Mbuti Pygmy hunters and herd the "elephants" into the net simply by chasing them. Then have the two children pretending to be elephants leave the net area.

-Divide children into however many lines that you have of bow and arrow sets. Allow them to each shoot 1-2 arrows and try to hit one of the pictures of the elephants that has been “caught” in the net.

YOU WILL NEED: something that looks like a net (fishing net, butterfly net, volleyball net, posterboard with a drawing of a net, etc.), way to hang or tape the net, two pictures of an elephant printed from the computer (http://www.supercoloring.com/pages/african-bush-elephant/), tape, and at least 2 bow and arrow sets (like the suction cup ones from the Dollar Tree)

Gorillas: Gentle Giants of the Forest (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)
Gorillas: Gentle Giants of the Forest (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)

If you are not limited by time, you can also read this book on gorillas. We read a number of books on Gorillas. This was one of our favorites. We also enjoyed the one by Gail Gibbons.

 

Video of gorillas in DRC. One charges & pounds his chest.

Girls pretending to be bees "stinging" the boys
Girls pretending to be bees "stinging" the boys

Pygmies Collecting Honey (Station 2)

16a. Explain that in the Congo live 4-feet Pygmies who live in the jungle. Pygmies love honey. When they find a tree with honey, they climb the trees (which are about 130 feet high), carefully climb out on the branches, and plunge their hands into the beehive. They pay no heed to bees whose sting does not bother them too much. Let children watch the short video on pygmies collecting honey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3IAZq-mGwY .

YOU WILL NEED: laptop computer (preferred) or phone that can play the video for the children

16b. After they collect the honey, all the honey is shared at a honey feast at which a honey-gathering dance is performed to demonstrate how they go the honey. The women pretend to be bees and hit the honey gathers with burning twigs to “sting” them. Use some of the fake flowers. Have the girls quickly stand in a circle around the boys. Allow girls to GENTLY hit the legs of the boys with the fake flowers.

YOU WILL NEED: fake flowers or small branches

16c. The honey dance is followed by a game of tug-of-war between the men and the “bees” (women). Men usually win (showing they successfully got the honey from the bees). Play tug of war with girls vs. boys.

YOU WILL NEED: rope for playing tug-of-war

16d. Finally, they enjoy their honey. Let the children taste a spoonful of “raw” honey.

YOU WILL NEED: honey (raw if you can get it) & spoons

Pygmies collecting honey

Possibly the honey gathering dance

Forest Singer
Forest Singer

This 32 page picture book features a young pygmy child and his desire to become a wonderful singer. If you are not limited by time, it would be a good option to read followed by showing the children YouTube videos of them singing. It is amazing how they can sing!

 

Review What We Learned Today

*If you divided into 2 groups, come back together into 1 group.*

17. Review what we learned today by asking questions such as: In the Bible verses we read today, it said that God’s Word is more precious than what? (pure gold) It is sweeter than what? (honey) At the beginning of co-op, what country did we learn about? (Nigeria) In southwest Nigeria, what is one style of dress the Adire and Yoruba peoples of wear? (indigo/blue tie-dye) What foods do they like to eat in Nigeria? (onions, chin chin, fufu, groundnut/peanut butter stew) The second half of co-op we learned about what country that is in the central/middle part of Africa? (Democratic Republic of Congo) What animals live in the rainforest there? (gorillas, forest elephants, okapis, chimpanzees, bonobos, etc.) What is something you learned about the pygmies today? (they are short, eat plantains for breakfast, hunt elephants using poison-tipped arrows, climb trees to get honey and then do honey dances and play tug-of war, etc.) What was your favorite activity from today?

Joke: What is as big as an African elephant but weighs nothing?

His shadow!

Great Books on the Congo

Traveling to Tondo by Verna Aardema was our favorite folk tale from the DRC (formerly Zaire). My 8 year old son enjoyed reading Tracking Wild Chimpanzees in Kibira National Parkby Joyce Ann Powzyk which is a longer picture book about a woman who went to track chimpanzees. Mother Leopard and Her Cubs by Jill Rutter is a good picture book folk tale from the DRC. It it told in both French and English.

The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps
The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps

We read a number of books on Jane Goodall. This was our favorite one. It does include the line that apes are our relatives.

 
Monkey Sunday: A Story from a Congolese Village
Monkey Sunday: A Story from a Congolese Village

Sanna Stanley has written a number of picture books on life in the rural Congo. They are simple stories and convey various aspects of life in rural Congolese villages. The stories are told from the perspective of a missionary pastor's young daughter.

 

Optional Homework: Missionary Reports & Lapbook

After reading about Mary Slessor and Albert Schweitzer, complete this missionary report on both people.

Here is a free lapbook for you to print out and complete on Lake of the Big Snake, a Nigerian tale.

Our Favorite Books on Missionaries to This Region

Also look for the Christian dramatized audio series Your Story Hour: Album 7 which containers 2 stories about Albert Schweitzer's life. My children all enjoyed listening to it! If you have older children, have them read Mary Slessor: Forward into Calabar which is a 203 page chapter book that covers her life in more detail and is a fascinating and inspiring book to read!

The Value of Dedication: The Story of Albert Schweitzer (Valuetales Series)
The Value of Dedication: The Story of Albert Schweitzer (Valuetales Series)

This was our favorite book on Albert Schweitzer, the medical missionary to Gabon, who held many other accomplishments as well.

 
Mary Slessor: Courage in Africa (Heroes for Young Readers)
Mary Slessor: Courage in Africa (Heroes for Young Readers)

This 32 page non-fiction picture book on Mary Slessor gives you a glimpse of the early missionary work in Nigeria and life in Africa before Christianity. Mary Slessor, who was inspired by the the work done by David Livingstone, dedicated her life to sharing Christ with the natives in Nigeria. She worked to start many schools so that children and adults could read their Bibles and also worked to end many of the dark practices such as killing twin babies, sacrificing family members and suspects when a tribal leader died, and killing slaves.

 

Ready for the next lesson?

Clay Cartouche from Lesson 1 on North Africa
Clay Cartouche from Lesson 1 on North Africa

Dramatize the mummification process, carve clay cartouches, eat a Tuareg-style meal, act out an Ashanti tale, dramatize the historic gold and salt trades centered in Ghana, paint watercolor paintings of the animals of the Congo, make Nigerian-style tie-dye shirts, hunt like a Pygmy and act out the Pygmy Honey Dance, enjoy an Ethiopian-style feast, create Zulu shields, and more in this fun 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa!

  • North Africa Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. This week's focus is North Africa. Dramatize the mummification process, carve clay cartouches, eat a Tuareg-style meal, make Moroccan Khobz, hold a Moroccan Berber fantasia and more!
  • Western Africa Lesson - This is part 2 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. Act out an Ashanti tale, dramatize the historic gold and salt trades centered in Ghana, mold Ashanti gold weights out of clay, attempt to carry baskets and babies in the Ghanaian fashion, and more!
  • West and Central Africa Lesson - This is part 3 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. Make watercolor paintings of the animals of the Congo, taste Nigerian chin chin, fufu, and Ground Nut Soup, make Nigerian-style tie-dye shirts, hunt like a Pygmy and act out the Pygmy Honey Dance, and more!
  • East and South Africa Lesson - This is part 4 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. Enjoy an Ethiopian-style feast, create Zulu shields, make Masai necklaces and attempt Masai-style spear throwing, and more!
  • Africa Unit Presentations and Field Trip Ideas - For the culminating activity for our 4 part hands-on unit on Africa, make African dishes and present on famous people relevant to Africa. Also included is where we went for field trips during this unit.
  • Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at the above link.

Traveling in Modern West & Central Africa

Material List for This Lesson

ALL FAMILIES: PLEASE BRING:

- Per 2 children: 1 atlas that includes the countries of Africa (preferably one that also include pictures of items, animals, etc.) or printed map that shows African countries

- Per child: 1 t-shirt that we can tie-dye (such as a white undershirt) & plastic grocery store bag with their name written on it in Sharpie marker to use to carry home the dyed wet shirt

- Per family: 1 bag of rubber bands

- Optional (bring only if you have this): suction cup bow and arrow sets

- Optional (bring only if you have this): mortar & pestle to show the children

- Optional (bring only if you have this): Any items you may have from Western Africa (particularly Nigeria) or Central Africa to show the children

ITEMS TO BE ASSIGNED TO BRING FOR THE GROUP:

-"gold" (can be fake gold like toy jewelry)

-1 large stock pot, measuring spoons, liquid measuring cup, mixing spoon, pair of oven mitts or hot pads, cooking oil (at least 3 tablespoons), 3 medium chopped onions, 3 large chopped bell peppers, & 6 minced cloves of garlic

-book on Nigeria: Chidi Only Likes Blue by Ifeoma Onyefulu

-can opener, 1 (28 ounce) + 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (not drained), 12 cups chicken broth or stock, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, & 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

-2 bottles of RIT royal/dark blue dye, large stainless steel pot or pails that can used for dye (not to be used with food), tongs, & rubber/latex gloves

-28 napkins & chin chin

-1 cup crunchy (NOT creamy) peanut butter, 28 disposable bowls, 21 small cups for water

-prepared fufu: http://www.food.com/recipe/fufu-198020 but instead of leaving it in 1 large ball, divide it into at least 42 walnut-sized balls. You can store it covered in the refrigerator.

-1 plantain and baked plantains prepared according to this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/Oven-Baked-Sweet-Plantains-80130

-pictures of animals of the Congo from books or the Internet

-something that looks like a net (fishing net, butterfly net, posterboard with a drawing of a net, etc.), two pictures of an elephant printed from the computer (http://www.supercoloring.com/pages/african-bush-elephant/), tape, and at least 2 bow and arrow sets (like the suction cup ones from the Dollar Tree)

-laptop computer (preferred) or phone that can play this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3IAZq-mGwY for the children

-fake flowers or small branches

-rope for playing tug-of-war

-honey & 21 spoons

Konos Volume 2
Konos Volume 2

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful curriculum and was created by moms with active boys!

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2011 iijuan12

Comments, questions, or ideas? - I LOVE hearing from you! Please leave a note to let me know you dropped by!

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      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @Titus2Homemaker: The activities done in this lesson would definitely be appropriate for those countries as they are in West Africa. To get further ideas, you could google the country plus "lesson plan." I did that and came up with a list of free lessons on Sierra Leon such as : http://www.gk12.msstate.edu/lessonplans/290_INSPIR... and http://www.pbs.org/pov/sierraleone/lesson_plan.php .

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      Titus2Homemaker 4 years ago

      My girls would like to study Guinea and Sierra Leone this year. Do you know if your activities above would be appropriate to these countries, as well? Or do you know where we might begin looking? (There seems to be a dearth of information available about these nations.)

      Thank you!

    • iijuan12 profile image
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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @donnetted: Thank you so much!!!

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      Donnette Davis 5 years ago from South Africa

      Beautiful Africa~!! Liked, shared and Blessed x

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Awesome! Super love it. Thanks for sharing. Squid-liked!