Africa and Us: Lesson
Level: Early elementary

Students will identify places that a child living in South Africa and they themselves might want to visit.

Somewhere in Africa by Ingrid Mennan and Niki Daly (Puffin Books, New York 1997)
Plain piece of paper for each student.

Time: 40 minutes


1. Lead a discussion about places that students would like to see or know more about. Begin by asking, "Have you ever heard of a place that you would like to visit? What places have you heard of?" (Allow student response.)

Explain that sometimes people wish they could visit special or exciting places. Some people may like to visit a beach so they can swim or make shapes in the sand. Some people may wish to visit a lake so they can go boating or fishing. Ask students to tell some places that they would like to visit. (Allow student response.)

Explain that you are going to read a book about a boy named Ashraf who lives in Africa. He also wishes he could see other parts of his country. Ask the students to pay attention so they can tell you the places Ashraf would like to visit.

2. Read the book and follow with the question, "What places did Ashraf dream about seeing?" (Responses will include: places where lions lie in tall grass; places where crocodiles swim in muddy rivers; and places where zebras run through great plains.)

3. Follow with a discussion about the similarities in Ashraf's city and your city. Ask, "Did any of you want to visit the same kinds of places that Ashraf dreamed about? What things did you see in Ashraf's town that are similar to things that you have in your town?" (Answers will include: library, skyscrapers, school, traffic lights, toy shop, antique store, fruit vendors, flower stands, supermarkets, and musicians.)

Explain that some people may think that Africa is a jungle place where only wild animals live. Other people may think that many people in Africa are poor and starving. State that, "While this may be true of some parts of Africa and of some people in Africa, today we have learned that there are also many people in Africa who live in ways that are very similar to the way we live."

Have each student take a piece of paper and draw a line through the middle of it. On one half of the paper students should copy and complete the sentence, "Somewhere I would like to visit is..:" On the other half of the of the paper students should write, "Somewhere Ashraf would like to visit is..." Have students complete each sentence and write a few more sentences describing these two places. Then have the students draw a picture of the places they have described.

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