Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Ancient Africa's Connection to Today

Wilma Horton
Miami-Dade County Schools


Ancient Africa's Historical Contributions are told though the eyes of a spider, Anansi and his search calabash game. Fabric art is optional.


The student applies a variety of response strategies, including rereading, note taking, summarizing, outlining, writing a formal report, and relating what is read to his or her own experiences and feelings.


-Computer(s )with access to the Internet and software to -play- the downloaded music
-Paper and pencil/pen (for each student)
-Optional cotton T shirt (for each student)
-Optional fabric paint, scissors, sponge, old newspapers(for each student)


1. Read and preview the designated websites.
2. After reading the websites create several questions dealing with the distinctive and varied ancient cultural contributions given to the world by the African continent after viewing and playing the calabash search game.
3. Some classrooms have one computer. Some classes have access to multiple computers. Create computer usage rules for your particular usage.
4. Survey the class for students and or family members born on the continent of Africa. If so, give these selected students an opportunity to share their cultures prior to this lesson. If there are students ask them to dress in their culture attire. Or a parent might be willing to do so if given ample time to take off work or plan this in advance.
5. Query peers, maybe another teacher or another teacher's pupils might be from the continent of Africa. Ask.
6. Locally, there may be shops that sell ethnic attire and the teacher might want to avail themselves of this opportunity--it just takes planning and a few bucks. If none are locally, go to and search for African clothing.
7. Locate and review essay tips orally or with a printed copy. The grammar books have them. Use them. Do not reinvent the wheel. For online research I do not always "grade" the grammar. I look for concepts and facts learned and grade holistically. I use other "opportunities" to grade for grammar.


1. Play selected African music for students prior and during lesson for students. This will set the mood. Go to listed website in this lesson.

2. Have students complete the "K" part of the KWL chart (See Beacon web link in this lesson to find out more about this graphic organizer) prior to beginning this lesson. Student will complete the "W" and "L" part of the KWL chart during the investigation of the Ancient Africa web link.

3. Review the computer behavior rules and have one or two students model it.

4. Pair competent student with less competent student and make them aware that each must share information with the other.

5. Circulate to ensure that each student is filling out the KWL chart. This chart will be the notes for the essay.

6. Encourage partners to "share" information, to assist one another with the calabash online game, and to proofread each other's essays.

7. As teacher, encourage students to note the similarities and differences in the African culture and our American multicultural culture. Note what we, as Americans, "borrowed" from the continent of Africa. The students' essays should "reflect" this in their research on this website. Grammar would not be part of this rubric.

8. The teacher will ensure an upbeat mood with the music and game and the students will inadvertently learn that we are all connected.


Student will complete the game online, calabash (to win the search and complete a formative assessment). Students will then complete the KWL graphic organizer chart. Remember the -K- part is done prior the this lesson.This is a form of notetaking.The essay will be written using this graphic organizer. Go to the Beacon website and click on -General- and under that heading, click on teaching strategies. There is all the information on the KWL. Students will write a ( two to five) paragraph essay summarizing the ancient African contributions on the site. Encourage the student to -own- some of the cultural information through their experiences. For example, reproduction artifacts may be displayed in their homes and they now know the originations of that art. Or, after listening to selected African music, students will learn that the bass beat in popular music has the same rhythms as the drum beats in the ancient yet still enjoyed music of the African continent. Color preferences in dress are culturally based.The rubric here deals with the student writing about his/her experiences and the relationship to this website's cultural history. Studying history brings validation and pride into one's life on the timeline continuum.


This can be a be a beginning. The rest of the world is calling. There are other countries, continents, cultures just waiting.
Or, the teacher can extend this lesson to include "eats." Okra soup, egusi melon stew, and cow foot stew are FANTABULOUS. The lesson may be extended further, the students may listen to various African countries' music and make a Venn diagram of similarities and differences in some of the current music is this country. The teacher might point to some of the "universalities" of music.

Web Links

Anansi, the spider, takes the student all over the continent of Ancient Africa noting the outstanding historical contributions through a search game. Click on the upper right to start calabash game.
Welcome Kids' Africa

Professional development teaching strategies for KWL chart
K-W-L Charts

African music for the continent and those other countries with its influence.
African Music

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