Grade: Elementary
Subject: other

#509. African Theme

, level: Elementary
Posted Sun Jul 12 13:10:56 PDT 1998 by Rosemary Purdy (written by Marilyn Lewis and Loreen McDonald (
Jesse Stuart Elementary, Madisonville, KY USA 42431
Activity Time: any desired length
Concepts Taught: African life and literature

This theme came to me on another listserv and I asked permission to post it here.


1. African animals
Brainstorm list of all the animals you think come from Africa and
anything students know about them. Write down everything even if you know
it is incorrect. You will review this list the last day to see which
information was correct. You can refer back to the list throughout the
unit and answer any questions students may have had at the beginning. The
list should be posted in the classroom where the students can see it.
2. Elephants--Zoobooks
Draw and paint or color
Differences between African and Indian elephants
African--Big ears, trunk is finger like and can pick up a single blade
of grass, round head, back bends down in the middle, both male and female
have tusks
Indian--Small ears, trunk wraps around food, bumpy heads, back bends
up in the middle, only males have tusks
3. Hippo
Tear art
4. Zebra
camouflage--no two zebras have the same stripe pattern just like
people's fingerprints.
make a herd of zebras out of thumbprints
5. Camels
hump is for fat storage to be used when there is little food or water
2 hump vs. 1 hump
Bactrian and Dromedary
6. Cheetahs
paper mask
7. Rhino (Zoobooks)
paper puppet
Black and White--compare and draw
8. Lion
paper plate mask
9. Giraffe
draw and watercolor paint
10. Crocodile
paper puppet
11. Ostrich
ostrich egg used as bowls
visit ostrich farm
compare to Emu of Australia
story--If I had a pet ostrich, I would ______.
12. Antelope
importance of as a food source for predators
color paper

13. Monkeys--no tails
gorilla--endangered species
14. Bats
night flyer book
15. African animal version of Brown Bear
black mamba, green crocodile, yellow giraffe, red hoopoe (bird),
brown dassie (rock hydrax), orange hyena, black rhino, pink flamingo,
purple loerie (bird), white egret, brown impala, black wildebeest, grey
elephant, blue guineafowl, red lechwe (buck), blue crane (the national bird
of South Africa), tawny lion, black eagle, tan kudu, silver gull, white
duck, striped zebra, spotted cheetah
16. Habitat
define and describe things you find there
food, water, shelter
in Africa
fold paper into 4 squares, draw plants and add animals to their
17. South Africa
Zulu tribe--wall hanging
flag and map
18. Nigeria
pisa houses
soda bottles-tape-straw-paint
flag and map
19. Egypt
plaster of paris-milk cartons (takes 2 days)
Egyptian paper beads
flag and map
20. Kenya
dough animals
Moja Means One
flag and map
21. Paper Tube Zoo
students choose their favorite African animal and make a paper tube
one using the patterns found in the book Paper Tube Zoo. Display the zoo
on a table. Cages can be strawberry boxes.
Animals--Lion, monkey, hippo, crocodile, elephant, giraffe
22. Story--Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain
paper quilt with animals from Africa
23. Story--Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears
story order
folk story
24. Story--Learning to Swim in Swaziland by Nila Leigh
this story was written by an eight year old girl
25. African Mask color paper
26. African pattern place mat
27. Wodaabe mirror pouch from Niger
28. Paper Kufi from Ghana
29. Kente paper weaving from the Asante people of Ghana
30. Adinkra sponge stamps from Ghana.
31. Safari time--make binoculars out of toilet paper tubes and yarn. Put
the kids chairs in short rows like they are on a bus and pretend to cruise
around and talk about the animals and plants you see. Have a few kids be
different animals. You could make cameras out of cardboard boxes and
pretend to take pictures.

Projects at home (or for the very brave)

Paper mache mask of favorite African animal
Paper mache calabash (bowl)
3-D animal
Diorama of habitat with animals in shoebox

In the End

African Party

Students could dress up like their favorite African animal or wear native
African costumes. Check your library for African music. Assign each
student to bring one food dish to share and let the fun begin!


A Trip Around The World
Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.

Another Trip Around the World
Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.

The Kids' Multicultural Art Book
by Alexandra Terzian

The Kids' Around the World Cookbook
by Deri Robins

The Paper Tube Zoo
by Evan-Moor Corp.

You Can Change the World -- Learning to Pray for People Around the World
by Jill Johnstone

Decorating the Room

Bulletin Boards

Pictures from magazines or old books found at garage sales.
Nat. Geographic, World, Ranger Rick, Smithsonian
Replace pictures with student work throughout the unit.

3-D tree for Rainforest unit. I used this to display student work. It was
a very popular item. Teachers and students from other classes would visit
my room to see what I had added to the tree. They were all sad to see it
go. I cut paper bags, stapled pieces together, stuffed newspapers
in-between to make it round, painted the bags green for the leaves and
stapled it to the ceiling. Everyone wondered how I got it to stay up.

String tied to clothespins hung from the ceiling is great for displaying
student work. especially 3-D stuff.

Hang paper strips from ceiling for seaweed for ocean unit. Then hang
stuffed paper ocean animals. It makes the kids feel like they are under
the water.

Paint on the windows. Tempra washes off or scrape it off with a razor
blade. I used this for my ocean unit.

Cover the door with wrapping paper or use wrapping paper for bulletin

African Recipes


Peanut Soup

1 cup peanut butter (smooth style)
2 cups chicken bouillon
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
red pepper (optional)

Heat bouillon and peanut butter together in a pan slowly, stirring until
the peanut butter is dissolved. Simmer about 10 minutes. Add onions and
tomatoes. Simmer until onions are soft. Pour into bowls and sprinkle
sparingly with hot red pepper. Serves four or enough for samples for 20.


Beans and Rice

2 cups rice
1 cup dried white or red kidney beans
salt to taste

Cook beans according to the package directions. When firm but thoroughly
cooked, pour out excess water. Add rice, salt and water again according to
package directions. As the rice steams, check it occasionally to see that
there is enough water since the beans, too, will continue to cook and they
may both require more. Add hot water as necessary.


Ground Beef

1 lb. ground beef
4 medium sized onions, chopped
garlic, to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper
salt to taste
1 chopped green pepper
1/2 cup cooked flat green beans
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

Heat peanut oil in a pan and fry onions, garlic and peppers for five
minutes. Add beef and brown it. Add tomato sauce and simmer for 20
minutes. Add flat beans and allow them to heat through. Serve over rice
and beans or plain rice.

Ivory Coast

Fried Bananas

4 bananas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup fine crushed Corn Flakes
peanut oil
black pepper
cinnamon and sugar

Cut the bananas into quarters lengthwise and then into halves crosswise,
making 8 fingers of each banana. All to stand 10 minutes covered with
lemon juice. Role in crumbs and cook quickly in peanut oil 1/2 inch deep
in skillet at 370 degrees until crispy brown on both sides. Bananas may be
sprinkled with pepper and served as an accompaniment to meat or fish, or
sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon if served as a dessert.

West Africa

Fruit Dessert

1 large pineapple
banana, orange, papaya, etc.
grated coconut
lemon juice

Cut a large pineapple lengthwise and scoop out the flesh. Cut it into
cubes, and add diced portions of other suitable fruits, as desired. Pout
over the fruit mixture a syrup of sugar, water and a little lemon juice.
Sprinkle with freshly grated coconut. Serve chilled.



for each cup desired, use the following proportions:

3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon anise seeds
2 teaspoons sugar

Boil the ingredients together for two minutes. Pour through a strainer
into cups.

South Africa


1 onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 slices bread
1 cup milk
1 lb. ground beef
1 tbsp. curry powder
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup raisins
1 tbsp. lemon juice
pinch of salt and pepper
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the crusts off the bread, break it
into chunks and soak it in half of the milk. Chop the onion. Heat the oil
in a pan, and fry the onion over a low heat for ten minutes. Add the beef,
curry powder, lemon juice, nuts, raisins, salt, and pepper to the pan. Fry
until the meat is brown all over. Spoon all of it into an ovenproof dish.
Beat the eggs with the rest of the milk, and pour over the mixture. Put it
in the oven for 1 1/4 hours. The top of the bobotie should be set and
golden brown.

Baked Bananas

4 large bananas
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter or margarine

Set the oven to 350 degrees F

Cut the bananas in half lengthwise. Put in an ovenproof dish, with the
cut sides facing up. Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. Stir in
the sugar and the cinnamon. Pour over the bananas. Cover the dish with
aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.