Geography: Which Continent?

Help your students uncover stereotypes they may hold about Africa using a simple photo viewing activity.   Ask students to call to mind the world’s continents.  (You might have them list the continents and brainstorm words or pictures they associate for each continent in their learning logs.) They will view 30 photographs and attempt to identify the continent in which the photograph was taken.  This is a silent, written activity.  Have them number their papers 1-30.  You can tell them that some of the photographs may seem easy to identify and others more of a challenge, but simply to make the best educated guess they can using clues in the pictures.  Once you’ve gone through the 30, start at the top.  Project the photograph and ask students to share their answers, and what clues in the photograph contributed to their responses.  (Here’s a good place to work in movement: Stand up if you thought this photo was Europe…)  Students will eventually discover the pattern:  all photographs are from Africa: and specifically: Egypt and Tanzania, the two nations this educator visited in 2010 with Fulbright/Hayes Group Project studying Islam and Muslim Communities.  What made some photos easy to identify and others a challenge?  Another pattern typically surfaces: rural village scenes are generally correctly identified as Africa, whereas urban settings and images of wealth are attributed to Europe or North America.  What does this tell us about our current images of Africa?  Where do our images come from?   Are these sources reliable?  What questions arise from this activity for further inquiry?

“Which Continent?” copyright 2011 Amy Lake.  Contact

Which Continent? Powerpoint File