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Exploring Africa with Maps101

Posted on April 24 2022

Exploring Africa with Maps101

Dear Educator,

This week, we are taking a look at the continent of Africa. Too many students make the mistake of thinking of Africa as a country, not a continent. The history, economics, and habitats of this large continent give students much to learn about. With Maps101, you will find maps, of course, and also exclusive Geography News Network articles; interactive Field Trips; full lessons with student and teacher editions, aka Lesson Maps; and more. Right now, we will begin our tour of Africa with perhaps the greatest of all of Earth’s rivers: the Nile.

Field Trip

One of the earliest civilizations began along the fertile land provided by the Nile River Valley. This Field Trip explains the geography of the region, why the river runs north and not south, the climate zones of the area, trade, ancient Cairo, the sources of the Nile’s water, the Aswan High Dam and the Nile in modern times, and more. You can use each panel in the slideshow of the field trip as a main subject for students to research more about. Or you can have students practice summarizing or identifying main ideas and details by assigning to each student a panel and the accompanying More Details information to work from.

EXPLORE THE FIELD TRIP
VIEW THE FIELD TRIP ON CLASSIC
Map

To understand Africa, one must look at the different biomes there. Many students will assume that Africa is mostly desert. And there is a large portion of northern Africa—the Sahara—that is a desert. But Africa is largely grasslands as well. And the Congo River helps provide for tropical rainforest in the continent’s equatorial zone. Desertification, however, is a major issue in Africa, which we will look at more deeply next. Have students research each of Africa’s biomes. They should include what lives in that biome and how humans and animals have adapted. What effects have humans had on this biome? Why?

VIEW THE MAP
VIEW THE MAP ON CLASSIC
Geography News Network

Now, let’s take a closer look at desertification, as it is a major concern for the continent. Have students read this exclusive GNN article about how the Sahara is expanding. Then, ask students to research the issue to find the most contemporary sources of data on desertification. Project the accompanying map and have students indicate how the map would be updated with the latest data. What do scientists predict about the future of the Sahel? Make sure students understand the root causes of desertification and its effects. What can or should people do to stop this process? How can students get involved?

READ THE ARTICLE
VIEW THE ARTICLE ON CLASSIC
Map

Now, let’s address the misconception that Africa is a country, not a continent. Students need to know the difference in order to be citizens of the 21st century. Project this political map of Africa on the board. Have students make a list of the countries on the map. Are students surprised there are this many nations in Africa? Have students pick a country to learn more about. They can present a slideshow of images of that country. They should include depictions of different aspects of the nation’s culture, such as city scenes, clothing, music, cuisine, etc.

VIEW THE MAP
VIEW THE MAP ON CLASSIC
Geography News Network

South Africa is a country at the southern tip of Africa. There are numerous languages spoken there. Like North America, the history of the African continent includes colonization by Europeans. The Portuguese, Dutch, and English each had a role in South Africa. Have students read this GNN article to learn more about the colonial history of South Africa and this history’s effect on the languages spoken there. 

READ THE ARTICLE
READ THE ARTICLE ON CLASSIC
Lesson Map

Europeans set out to colonize in order to gain resources and expand their economies. Africa has numerous natural resources, including gold and diamonds. This made it vulnerable to colonization. This complete lesson addresses the following Essential Questions: Which natural resources does Africa’s economy benefit from? How did imperialism affect Africa? How have the characteristics of Africa’s population affected its economy? In addition to the student edition that answers these questions and more, there is also a robust teacher edition that includes leveled activities for every subheading within the lesson. Consider a Lesson Map an expanded and more interactive GNN article. Once you are hooked on Lesson Maps, you will be excited to check out our ever-expanding collection.

STUDENT VERSION
TEACHER VERSION
Field Trip

We cannot look at Africa’s economic and colonial history and not address the African slave trade. This interactive Field Trip looks at slavery from Africa, as well as its practice all over the world. While Africa was a major source of enslaved people, the practice of slavery began before the African slave trade and has continued through to today in parts of the world. This Field Trip includes the entire scope of slavery—much of which may surprise your students if they are only aware of slavery as it relates to the Americas.

EXPLORE THE FIELD TRIP
VIEW THE FIELD TRIP ON CLASSIC

This is a small sample of the kind of content available to you with your Maps101 subscription. Every week, the editors at Maps101 will provide you with highlights from our extensive collection in this GeoJournal newsletter. We suggest you make a folder to store them for future reference. Expand your students’ world with Maps101!

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