Africa is the most diverse continent on the planet. It is rich with natural resources, but for many reasons, including historical colonialism, bad leadership, disease and exploitation, the continent still struggles with abject poverty and underdevelopment. Its wildlife is in danger too. Many animals living there have been pushed to the brink of extinction due to human activity and both animals and humans are suffering the effects of aggressive deforestation.
The study of Africa thus provides a wealth of valuable learning opportunities. The majority of this project focuses on the geographical, social and scientific value of exploring the cultures, climates and creatures of Africa. However, there are plenty of opportunities to develop students’ research and literacy skills throughout, beginning with the reciprocal reading of a traditional West African tale. There is particular emphasis on the conservation of nature and the protection of endangered species.
The Exploring Africa project-plan includes instructions, activity sheets, information factsheets, research resources and images to support the lesson plans and activities covering English, Maths, Science, Geography, History, ICT, Art, Drama, Thinking Skills, Media and Citizenship:
Activity 1: Reading the text
Description – The purpose of this activity is to encourage active thinking and reading through close examination of the West African tale, ‘The Blind Man and the Hunter’.
Activity 2: Africa as a continent
Description – Students investigate Africa’s position on the globe and produce a large-scale map of the continent showing its countries.
Activity 3: Africa’s countries
Description – Pupils plan, create and present a PowerPoint to the class on one of Africa’s countries, focusing predominantly on geographical features and information.
Activity 4: Life in Africa
Description – Students create a culturegram (an image bank) about the lives of people in Africa.
Activity 5: Comparing climates
Description – Students compare temperature and rainfall between the Sahara Desert and the Congo Rainforest, considering the diversity of African climates, and the implications of their findings in relation to the way of life in that area.
Activity 6: Africa’s animals
Description – Students design an information booklet about an African animal.
Activity 7a: Protecting Africa’s endangered animals
Description – Students identify and research endangered animals. They then create a poster informing people how the animal has become endangered and how it can best be protected.
Activity 7b: Writing a news story
Description – Students write a news piece on one issue related to the conservation of animals in Africa.
Activity 8: Gashaka-Gumti National Park
Description – Students carry out a role-play to gain a better understanding of conservation and the threats and difficulties facing the animals, land and people involved.
Activity 9: Virtual safari
Description – This activity asks students to use presentation or video editing software to create a dramatised virtual safari around an African game reserve of their choice.
Activity 10: Creature creations
Description – Students design a plant or animal that is adapted to life in a chosen African climate – desert, savannah, rainforest or steppe.
Activity 11: Explorers of Africa
Description – Students research an explorer of Africa and write a diary entry for a significant event in their voyages.