See background information

Author: Carin Dewey

Grade Level: Early Elementary



  • Students will demonstrate how to eat as the people do in Senegal.
  • Students will present information to the class about an individual eating tradition in their family.


Materials Needed: (You may need to double or triple these materials depending on how many groups will be eating)


  • Ingredients - See Chicken Yassa Recipe
    • 2 chickens, 6 onions, 6 limes, ground red pepper, Salt, black pepper, oil, 1 bay leaf, rice.


  • Cooking Utensils
    • Knifes, bowls for mixing, spoons, grill or oven, charcoal.


  • Serving Utensils
    • 1 large serving platter, 1 large mat, bowls for washing hands, wet wipes.

      (More depending on the number of students)



  1. Start with a story about a mealtime tradition in your family.
  2. Ask students to share any unique traditions that their family has during mealtime (rules, special meals, seating arrangements, foods).
  3. We have been studying about the people and the continent of Africa. Today we are going to learn about some unique traditions the people of Senegal have during their mealtimes.
  4. Explain to them that the way that the people eat in Senegal is not weird or "primitive," but unique and worthy of being learned about and studied. Compare how each of us have unique traditions in our homes at mealtimes, and so do the people in Senegal. These differences should be celebrated.
  5. Using the background information provided, teach the students how the people in Senegal eat. Have a small mat and platter out to use for demonstration.
  6. Send a note home with the students to inform their parents that a snack will be provided for the students on the day of the celebration. Also, explain to the parents about what the class is doing and why. Ask for parent volunteers to come and help cook the chicken and also to participate in the celebration.
  7. The students will wash their hands and will carefully (with adult supervision) cut the chicken, and onions. Some will squeeze the limes. If the recipe needs to be halved, or doubled, then encourage the students to use their math skills to make accommodations. Place the marinated chicken in the school refrigerator overnight.


The Next Day:


  1. Prepare rice - this may be done by parent volunteers or by the head teacher.
  2. About two hours before the snack is to be served, parent volunteers grill the chicken. Allow the chicken to simmer for about 45 minutes.
  3. Place a large mat out for the students to sit around (You may need 2 or 3 depending on the number of students). Eat your chicken Senegal style!!!
    • Note: The wet wipes were included on the materials because periodically the students may want seconds. To prevent germ spread, have students wipe their hands off with a wet wipe before getting seconds. Using wet wipes is one idea that would make the meal more sanitary (although less authentic).
  4. Have each student go home and talk to his or her family about a mealtime tradition that their family has. The students will return and present their information to the class. This could be an oral report, a video, a guest speaker, a story, an artifact, a written report, an advertisement that tells about a family mealtime tradition. Allow time to prepare and present.




  1. Does each student participate properly in the activities of both days?
  2. Asses the sharing of family mealtime traditions. Has the student put time into his or her presentation? Is it done well?



Lutz, William. Senegal Chelsea House Publication. 1998, 75-81.

The Gambia and Senegal. APA Publications. 1996, 107-111.



Return to Africa Table of Contents