Earlier this year I wanted to make sure we spent some time learning about each of the continents individually. We started an Evan Moor Africa workbook that wasn’t the most engaging for my son so I decided to create my own. This Africa Unit Study will be an ongoing one for our homeschool. The plan is to incorporate engaging Africa facts for kids that will help bring the stories, people and culture to life. There’s just so much that I want to cover with my son so we’ll come back to it regularly over the next few months. I’ll be updating the page as we work through lessons and activities.
this post contains affiliate links
Africa Facts for Kids 5-day Unit Study Part One – People and Places
This mini-unit is designed to introduce the different countries located within Africa and explore notable people from a variety of regions. It can be spread out over the course of 5 days or more though it is not necessary to complete the activities in consecutive days.
We incorporated this unit study as an addition to our regular homeschooling lessons. It will include Africa facts for kids that encompass all subject areas, from social studies to STEAM, language arts, and mathematics.
Africa: People and Places Unit Study – Day One
Using Africa is Not a Country as our spine for this unit study, we spent about thirty minutes reading the first few pages of the book. This covered the African nations of Eritrea, Kenya, Botswana, Lesotho, and Egypt. I had my son find each country on a placemat of the continent of Africa that I found on Amazon. He then located the country on an unlabeled map of Africa (I used one I found on the membership site, abcteach.com)
Africa Mini Unit Study Resources Flip Through and Explanation Video:
We did a little bit of online research and discussed the reasons for the Eritrean-Ethiopian War and then looked into some of the news articles that cover the current humanitarian crisis going on in the region. This will give some background as to the Eritrean War for Independence and covers what’s been going on in recent months. I thought it would be helpful for me to have a bit of background when talking about the region with my son.
If it’s of interest to you and your family, you may also want to consider checking out some kid-friendly news sources to discuss current events with your children. After doing some Google research we learned a little bit more about a few of the regions we read about in Africa is Not a Country.
We discussed the many elite runners from the Rift Valley region of Kenya where athletes from all around the world go for training. This article discusses individuals from both the Kalenjin and Nandis ethnic groups and the running culture that is so engrained in the Iten region. For families who follow the New York Marathon or the Boston Marathon each year, this is a great little rabbit trail to go after. Similarly, as the Summer Olympic Games approach, this could also be an additional lesson.
Day One Read-Aloud: I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakate
To close out the unit we incorporated the chicken and egg portion of the story and looked through both Farm Anatomy and Animal Anatomy books from Julia Rothman. We learned which chickens are strictly egg-layers, which are used for meat, and which chickens are both. For fun, we recreated some of the art from the book and painted a rock to hide somewhere in town that reflects the art and has the title and author of the book painted on the back.
In the books, my son discovered how to determine the freshness of an egg and tested out the eggs we had in the refrigerator. If your child likes eggs (mine does not) you could easily extend the learning by cooking with your kids and trying out a new egg-cooking technique or making an old favorite.
Africa: People and Places Unit Study – Day Two
Back in our unit study spine, Africa is Not a Country, we read about children from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Mali, Cape Verde, and Benin, while my son located each country on his map. While looking at our map from abcteach.com against the map on the Africa placemat, he noticed that Sudan and South Sudan were represented differently.
We looked that up to see if it was an error in printing but the abcteach version was simply an outdated map from 2008. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan voted for their independence from Sudan, and thus, the territories split. We sent an email to the company and hope to hear from them soon.
Day Two Read-Aloud: Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
As a young man, Emmanuel biked over 400 miles in 10 days despite his disability. He was recently awarded ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award, has raced in triathlons, and set up a sports academy in his home country of Ghana. Emmanuel is a national hero.
We completed the following quote from Yeboah as copywork:
In this world, we are not perfect. We can only do our best.”
–Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Days 3-5 to follow.
Africa: People and Places Unit Study – Day Three
Africa is Not a Country – Cote D’Ivoire, Mauritania, Tanzania, Senegal, Ethiopia
Day One Read-Aloud: My Rows and Piles of Coins
While not related to Africa, this Minecraft Money Printable will help your child determine their needs vs. wants and come up with a savings plan to reach their goals. We also played a game that has been one of my sons’ favorites for a while now – for some reason, he just enjoys counting money!
Money Bags is geared for ages 7 and up and is a quick and fun game to incorporate into your unit studies. We’ll likely be adding a few of these options to our gameschooling lineup soon:
- Learning Advantage: Bank Account Money Game
- Learning Resources Buy it Right Shopping Game
- Exact Change Card Game
Africa: People and Places Unit Study – Day Four
Geography and Culture: Africa is Not a Country – Sudan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Soweto, South Africa
Africa: People and Places Unit Study – Day Five
Africa is Not a Country – Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia, Madagascar, Togo
Where to Find Additional Africa Worksheets and Resources for a Homeschool Unit Study
Journey to Jo’berg, A South African Story by Beverly Naidoo – we have this on our bookshelf but have not read it yet. It is geared toward readers age 8 -12, but I will likely hold off on this one for another year as my son is just turning 10 this summer. Learn more about the book here:
William Kamkwamba – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: I have several resources for this book; we listened to the Young Readers Version of The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind on Audible. This blog post covers everything we did for that unit, including a hands-on windmill activity. During this Africa unit study, we did some additional research on Malawi and learned about the World War 1 Memorial located in the region that pays homage to the soldiers killed during the war.