African Cities Are Modern

Cape Town, South Africa

by Cindi Arnold

Grade Level: Early Elementary



Students will create a mobile that compares the way of life in modern cities in Africa to rural villages in Africa.


Materials needed:

Pictures of modern cities in Africa, pictures of rural villages in Africa, map or globe, copy of mobile banner for each student or group of students, eight circles for each mobile, construction paper, string, glue, crayons, paper punch.

There are some great pictures on the following sites:


Ask the students: "What do you think it might be like to live in Africa?" I suspect they will mention some of the stereotypical things such as wild animals, tribes, and safaris. Explain to the students that these things do exist, but that there are also people who live much like we do, in modern towns and cities.

1. Write on the board:


Villages ..............................................................Cities






2. Show the pictures of rural African villages. Talk about things such as buildings, transportation, modern conveniences such as electricity, television, radios, etc. Most of these conveniences do not exist in the rural villages. Ask them what houses, schools, transportation and water sources might be like. Schools, if they have any, are often one room buildings where all of the students meet together. People usually walk wherever they need to go, some people do have bicycles. Water is usually taken from a community well. List these things in their space on the board.

Houses are sometimes built using bricks made by the villagers and topped with grass roofs.

3. Discuss the fact that there are cities all over the world. Show a map of Africa. Point to 3 of the largest cities in Africa: Cairo, Egypt has 6.8 million people. Kinshasa, Zaire has 4.7 million people. Cape Town, South Africa, population 2.9 million.

Population density map of Africa


4. Show the pictures of the African cities. Ask what things we can find in a city: houses, transportation, schools, water and any other conveniences such as electricity, etc. List these items on the board.

Johannasburg, South Africa

5. Discuss how the villages are different from the cities. How are they the same?

6. As a group, or individually, the students will make a mobile:

- Students will create one picture on each of eight circles representing: transportation in the city, transportation in a village, home in a city, home in a village, water source in a city (faucet, tub, sink), water source in a village, school in a city, school in a village.

-Color and cut out the banner (see below).

- Cut out 8 circles.

- Paste the pictures on a construction paper circle with the city object on one side and the correlating village picture on the other.

- Punch a hole in the construction paper circles.

- Tie string through the holes and connect the circles to the banner.

- Hang up.



1. Observe responses of students during the discussions to be sure children understand there are modern cities in Africa as well as rural villages.

2. Use a rubric to evaluate the mobile:

Shows understanding of cities:

1=Needs Work

Shows understanding of villages:

1=Needs Work

Shows creativity:

1=Needs Work

Completed on time:

1=Needs Work

Cleaned up mess:  

1=Needs Work


 Mobile Banner 


Cities & Villages


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