Africa Lesson Plan :

A Swahili Counting Book



Author: Marie Holt

Grade Level: Early Elementary




1- The students will give oral examples of similarities and differences between another culture and their own.

2- The students will create a Swahili counting book using pictures from their own culture.

3- The students will identify Swahili as a language spoken in Africa.


Content Information: Click here for background information.



* Book - Moja Means One by Muriel Feelings

* Paper - 10 pieces per student, can be cut into half sheets.

* Pencils

* Crayons or markers




1- Anticipatory Set: The teacher will ask the students if they know what Swahili means or if they know any words in Swahili. Then explain to them that they do if they have seen the movie, "The Lion King." The word "simba" means "lion", "rafiki" means "friend", and "Hakuna Matata" means "no troubles" or "no problems" in Swahili.


2- The teacher will read the book Moja Means One to the students.


3- The teacher will show that each page counts to ten in Swahili and talks about some aspects of the East African culture while counting (e.g., 2 villagers playing, 7 fish in the Nile river, and 9 instruments being played.)


4- The teacher will ask the students questions concerning things are similar and different between an African culture and their own.

* What do you see from the book that is the same with you and your neighborhood?

* What do you see that is unique to Africa?


5- Talk about ten different things from their own community that could be made into a classroom Swahili counting book. Starting with number one in the Swahili language, the teacher will write down what the children say to describe their own community. The community can be as broad as the whole United States or as closely related to them as their neighborhood, school, or classroom.


6- The teacher will write down the items for each number up to ten. Then the teacher will type the students' words onto ten pieces of paper and staple them together to make a book. Make sure the numbers are spelled out in the Swahili language along with the numeral (e.g., mbili computers in the classroom, tano kids riding on bikes, or tisa cars in the parking lot.)


7- The teacher will make enough copies for every student. The students will then illustrate their own book and draw the number of items on each page according to the words and numbers written on the page.


8- The teacher will rotate among the students asking what language is being used and asking where it comes from.


9- Have the students share their books with other students or family members. They will now have their own Swahili counting book to read.





1- The teacher will observe students' comments regarding the similarity and difference questions.


2- The teacher will assess the books that have been made by each child.


3- The teacher will evaluate students responses to #8 in the procedures section of the lesson plan.



Source: Feelings, Muriel. Moja Means One. 1971. The Dial Press, New York.


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