Social Awareness:
A Study of the Continents - Africa

"Ms. Jackson why are children in other countries so different from us? Why do they celebrate the holidays they way they do? Do they eat the same foods that we eat? Do they play the same games we do? Why do they wear those funny clothes?" These students had just come back from a sightseeing field trip. There they had seen many people from other lands. The children were quite surprised at how some of them were dressed and the types of foods they were eating. They had many questions when they got back to school.

How can we teach students to respect and understand people of different cultures? How can we help students to realize that people, although they live in other places, have the same life needs and goals that we do? How can we encourage students to relate to people of varying racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds? In this Unit, the student will review people of different cultural backgrounds. The student will learn various facts about Africa. The student will learn to organize and present facts.

Unit Details
Subjects: Literature, Social Studies, Philosophy/Psychology
Learning Levels: Primary, Intermediate, Middle School
Author(s): Wynnetta Jackson
Submitted by: Wynnetta Jackson

Students work in the classroom and/or in the media center, or computer lab. The teacher will determine the amount of time needed.

The teacher will begin the lesson with a movie discussing people of different cultures. Two such films are, "Immigration and Cultural Change" and "500 Nations: Immigration to the U.S." The students and teacher will discuss the movie. During the discussion, the teacher and students should be able to give examples of everyday life in other places. The teacher will cover topics such as education, celebrations, customs, holidays, etc. from each place. Students will discuss traditions and practices that are similar to their own.

After discussion of the movie, the teacher will then ask the students in the classroom about the various cultural practices displayed in their families. If the students all have the same ethnic background, the teacher should invite other students from other backgrounds into the classroom to be included in the lesson. This is also a good opportunity to invite people from other communities to come into the classroom for show and tell.

Following this discussion, the students will explore different websites about Africa. The students will use the Internet to investigate various facets of Africa (culture, religious beliefs, holidays, traditions, immigration, people, history)

Depending on available resources, students may be able to create web pages that publish their findings and link to other related sites). Each student's web page will link to the class home page. Alternatively, students may create drawings, collages, or other projects to illustrate what they have learned.

The instructor will create a beginning web page that will contain links to appropriate sites for her students to begin their explorations. Students work in groups of two. Each group will receive one of the aforementioned topics for research.


Teacher will assess the students based on the following criteria:

  • the ability to work collaboratively
  • organization of their work
  • the quality of their written work
  • oral language skills as demonstrated within the presentation
  • their ability to convey their message through the use of visual images, sound effects, and interactive components in their projects.

Minimum requirements would be written information collected from website. The student should learn how to use the Internet to research selected topics, and cut and paste information. Student should learn how to extract information from written text.

PC or Macintosh computers (with modems and CD-ROM), Netscape or Explorer web browsers, web page software, Internet, pens, paper, software, layout sheets. Students may also use, QuickTake cameras, scanners, CD-ROM images, videos, sounds and print materials.

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