What our All about Africa lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: All about Africa teaches students about this continent and the countries that compose it. Students will learn to locate it on a map and list some of the characteristics of Africa. They will also learn about and be able to explain some its history. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. This lesson requires colored pencils, poster paper, a map of Africa, and scratch paper. Students will also need access to the internet for part of the lesson.
Options for Lesson
You can check out the “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page for additional suggestions for ideas and activities to incorporate into the lesson. Students may work alone or in groups for the activity. To save time, assign the activity for homework, one country per student. Students could draw a map of Africa and mark the borders, names of countries, capitals, etc. As another assignment, students could research the natural resources of Africa. Pair students and have them create a game board using questions and answers about Africa, its countries, etc. Invite a person to class who may have visited Africa to speak with the students about the experience.
The paragraph on this page provides a little more information or guidance on what to expect from the lesson. It mentions that this lesson is one of several about the seven continents. You could choose to teach this lesson in conjunction with others about the other continents of the world. You can use the blank lines to record any thoughts or ideas you have as you prepare.
ALL ABOUT AFRICA LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
The Continent of Africa
The All about Africa lesson plan has four pages of content. If you want to learn a new language, you might want to visit Africa, the second-largest continent on Earth. The people throughout the country speak over 1,000 languages. As of 2023, the United Nations estimate that there are nearly 1.43 billion people living in Africa. That makes it the second-most populated continent as well. About 15% of the world’s population lives in Africa.
Africa rests mostly in the eastern and northern hemispheres. To the north of Africa is the continent of Europe. To its south is the merging of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, with Antarctica further south. And to the west across the Atlantic Ocean is South and North Americas. Finally, to the east is the Indian Ocean, and its northeast border is Saudi Arabia and the rest of Asia.
If you were to travel from America to one of Africa’s countries, you would have to take a journey of 3,500 to over 8,000 miles as you cross the Atlantic Ocean. The north-south distance of Africa is about 5,000 miles, and the longest east-west distance is approximately 4,600 miles. People often refer to the southern half of Africa as the Horn of Africa.
Africa has several bodies of water inside its borders, including the longest river in the world, the Nile River. The Nile flows 4,258 miles from south to north. The river begins in the country of Ethiopia, and its mouth is in Egypt. One of the river’s sources is Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. Only Lake Superior in North America is larger. Other major bodies of water include the Niger River, Congo River, Zambezi River, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Nyasa.
Landforms and Geography
In addition to the many bodies of water, the terrain of Africa includes large mountains, tropical rainforests, grassy savannas, and (of course) deserts. There are three large deserts—Sahara, Kalahari, and Namib. The Sahara is the largest in the world. Its nickname is the Sea of Sand, and it is over 3.5 million square miles big. For comparison, the United States is about 3.8 million square miles. Most of the climate of Africa is tropical and desert.
The largest mountainous region, the Great Rift Valley, lies along the eastern coast from Mozambique to beyond Egypt into Israel. In total, it’s about 3,700 miles long when running south to north. The elevation ranges from below sea level at the Dead Sea to 6,000 feet above sea level in South Kenya. The tallest mountain in Africa is Mount Kilimanjaro, which is made up of an inactive volcano. It rests on the border of Kenya and Tanzania near the equator. Its peak is always covered with snow.
Rainforests are limited to the western coast and reach to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). The Congo rainforest is famous for its gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants, as well as a population of native forest dwellers known as pygmies. It is estimated that there are between 250,000 to 600,000 Pygmy people living in the Congo rainforest. Their origins date back over 60,000 years. The average height of adult men of the pygmies is usually short at less than 4 feet 11 inches.
Unfortunately, about 90% of West Africa’s rainforests have been wiped out. The current rainforests are in danger due to deforestation, road construction, and farming. North and south of the rainforests are the savannas of Africa, with areas of tall grasses, scattered trees, and bushes. They are home to grazing animals such as lions, giraffes, zebras, and elephants.
Countries of Africa
Africa is one of the most diverse continents with its 54 countries and over a billion people. The largest country in Africa is Algeria. Though Algeria is the largest, the most populated is Nigeria with more than 185 million people. It is one-third the size of Algeria. Lagos, a city in Nigeria, is the largest with a population of 11 million, the eleventh-largest city in the world.
Though English is the official language of Nigeria, people speak over 500 other languages in the country. In some areas, certain ethnic groups speak more than one language. About half the country are followers of Christianity, and the other half follow Islam. The film industry in Nigeria is known as “Nollywood” and is the second-largest movie producer in the world.
The smallest country in Africa is Seychelles, which is a nation of islands located in the Indian Ocean, directly east of the mainland of Africa. Only about 92,000 people live on the 115 islands. Many of the islands, however, are uninhabited, tropical island paradises.
A second and much larger island country is Madagascar, which is south of Seychelles. It is the fourth-largest island in the world, with a population of over 22 million. It is almost twice the size of Arizona. Many people refer to Madagascar as the “Red Island” due to the red color of its soil.
The lesson provides specific information for some African counties on the third page. Ethiopia has the second highest population among countries in Africa—over 100 million. The country is landlocked in the Horn of Africa and is home to the endangered Ethiopian wolf. This wolf is one of the most studied species.
Egypt is in the northern part of Africa and is a major power of the continent. It is home to the famous pyramids and is the size of France and Germany combined. South Africa is on the opposite side, on the southern tip. The country has 11 officially recognized languages and three capital cities. And it was here that the heart transplant took place.
Kenya’s name means “place with ostriches” and is home to 39 million people. In addition, archaeologists have found 200-million-year-old crocodile fossils and other findings. Uganda is also part of the southern region. An epidemic here in the early 1900s killed 250,000 of the population. It’s one of the poorest countries in the world but has large reserves of oil and gas that are still mostly untapped.
There are 49 other countries and territories that make up the continent of Africa. Each has contributed to the reasons many people across the world visit this massive continent.
Attractions of Africa
Africa is a large and diverse continent in terms of its land, people, wildlife, and more. There are many attractions for visitors to this beautiful region in the world. The great migration of animals is a year-round event. Animals move from Tanzania to Kenya in January and then return in September.
In the Volcanoes National Park, you could have a close encounter with mountain gorillas or golden monkeys in the Rwandan rainforest. The famous Pyramids of Giza are near Cairo, Egypt. They were built around 2650 BC from 2.5 million blocks of limestone! Another beautiful attraction that we find in Zambia and Zimbabwe. These are the Victoria Falls, the world’ most majestic waterfalls. At times, these incredible natural features flow at double the rate of Niagara Falls in North America.
Africa is the “cradle of mankind” and the place where the first human beings evolved 5 to 10 million years ago. The fossils we have found in Africa show that modern humans spread from this continent to other parts of the world. In addition, there is a region in South Africa that has the most plant varieties in the world. The 3,000 different groups of indigenous people have their own language and culture. Unfortunately, however, most Africans are poor despite the fact that they export minerals such as copper, gold, diamonds, and oil all around the world.
At the end of the content pages, the lesson lists a few questions for students to discuss. What would they most like to see in Africa? Where would they visit first, and why? You could use this as a discussion topic or have students complete an assignment that involves answering these questions.
ALL ABOUT AFRICA LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The All about Africa lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will reinforce students’ comprehension of lesson material in different ways and help them demonstrate when they learned. Use the guidelines on the classroom procedure page to determine when to distribute each worksheet to the class.
AFRICAN COUNTRY TRAVEL POSTER ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
For the activity, students will work with a partner to create a travel poster about one of the countries in Africa. You can assign which country students research or let them choose. Students should first find out as much as they can about the country. Then they will use drawings and other images, slogans, mottos, etc., as part of the poster. The worksheet provides a list of information pieces students can use to guide their research, such as population, terrain, climate, and so on.
WRITE THE QUESTION PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet divides into two sections. For the first part, students will review a list of 10 terms. They must create a question for each of the given answers as they relate to the continent of Africa. The second part requires them to fill in the blanks on 10 more prompts. There is a word bank with the possible choices.
ALL ABOUT AFRICA HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
Students will read through a list of 20 statements. They must match the statement to the country or place it represents. The word bank provides all the possible choices.
Worksheet Answer Keys
There are answer keys for both the practice and homework worksheets at the end of the lesson plan document. All the correct answers are in red to make it easier to compare them to students’ responses. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.