Elementary School Resources

Important Pedagogy for Teaching Elementary

Interactive Classroom Activities

  • African Cultural Activities 
    These hands-on crafts and games were co-prepared by the Boston Children’s Museum, BU’s African Studies Center, and a contributor from the activity-specific country for students in grades 4-7. The activities include contributors from Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Cape Verde, which are the African countries which have the highest population in Boston. The activities included are enjoyed by children in their origin country.
  • Creating Your Own Travel Kit
    If you are interested in developing your own country-specific or thematic travel kit, this lists a few suggestions, but we would be delighted to assist you further. Contact us here.
  • Bingo: The US-Africa Connections Worksheet
    This activity is designed for middle school students who focus on finding peers who can answer ‘yes’ to many of the Bingo sheet questions, and then uncover how elements of their daily lives–food, music, language, games, etc.–are all connected to Africa and/or the African diaspora. It is an excellent way to ‘bring Africa home’ for most students.
  • Creating Your Own Travel Kit
    If you are interested in developing your own country-specific or thematic travel kit, this lists a few suggestions, but we would be delighted to assist you further. Contact us here.

Lesson Plans

  • The Role of Wildlife in Teaching about Africa 
    Too often, evocative images of exotic animals are used to represent Africa in the media, literature, and in our schools. This is a dangerous mischaracterization and is very unrepresentative of the continent. In fact, most Africans see wildlife in zoos! We have produced an elementary-appropriate poster and accompanying lesson plans to help teachers combat this stereotype.
  • Discover Africa: A Travel Blog Project
    For this project, students write a series of travel blog posts that track their experiences and movements across the continent, highlighting their knowledge of African human and physical geography. The project focuses on representative and in-depth accounts of specific locations, rather than a broad and unrealistic generalization about the continent.
  • Using Visuals to Teach about Africa
    Visuals are key for student learning—more important for learning about Africa than perhaps for any other region of the world. This resources includes two lessons plans for recognizing bias through photos and for highlighting similarities across cultures. Sample Student Work contains student work from the two lessons discussed above and demonstrates the value of approaching visuals in area studies in this manner.
  • Africa Is Not a Country Statistics Comparison Activity
  • Guiding Questions for Discussing African Literature
  • Passport to the World: Learning about the Lives of Children in Africa through Picture Books

Additional Resources

  • Getting Started with Africa: A Resource Guide for Adults
    This annotated bibliography provides a number of sources to familiarize you with prominent works and resources in African Studies so that you are more informed and better equipped to introduce your student to the subject material.

Multimedia Resources

The Language of Africa series highlights a number of languages spoken around the continent and explores the personal and cultural connections each language has for its speaker. These abbreviated clips are an excellent way of introducing the multiculturalism and linguistic diversity found throughout the continent and provide students with an opportunity to think about the way their use of a specific language(s) carries with it historical and cultural connotations as well.

Afrikaans

In this particular video, Professor Zoliswa Mali provides an example of the Afrikaans language. Afrikaans is one of the official languages of South Africa and is the third most spoken language in the country. For more information on the Afrikaans language, please follow the link here.

(Portuguese) Creole

In this particular video, Professor Fallou Ngom provides an example of the Creole language. Creole is one of many languages spoken in Senegal, but examples of Creole can be found in numerous countries worldwide. For more information on the Creole language, please follow the link here.

Mandika

In this particular video, Professor Fallou Ngom provides an example of the Mandinka language. Mandika is the primary language of the Gambia but variations are spoken in Senegal and parts of Guinea-Bissau. For more information on the Mandika language, please follow the link here.

Sesotho

In this particular video, Professor Zoliswa Mali provides an example of the Sesotho language. Sesotho is one of the official languages of South Africa and is the national language of Lesotho. For more information on the Sesotho language, please follow the link here.

Xhosa

In this particular video, Professor Zoliswa Mali provides an example of the isiXhosa language. IsiXhosa (known as Xhosa in English) is one of the official languages of South Africa and is widely spoken throughout the country. For more information on the isiXhosa language, please follow the link here.

Zulu

In this particular video, Professor Zoliswa Mali provides an example of the Zulu language. Zulu is one of the official languages of South Africa and is the most widely spoken home language there. Zulu is also spoken in surrounding Southern Africa countries, such as Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. For more information on the Zulu language, please follow the link here.

The Teaching Africa Library boasts a number of rentable, interactive, and educational films on Africa, two of which were produced by the Outreach Program. To view the entire catalog of available films, please click here.

Inside Africa (Grades 2-7 DVD)

The video below is a trailer to our film Inside Africa: Introducing the Continent and Its Peoplewhich introduces elementary and lower middle school-aged students to the diverse human and physical geographies of Africa. The final portion of the film follows the lives of children in three countries, depicting both the diversity and the universality of childhood experiences. The film is available for purchase on our website here.