Africa Unit Plan

contributed by Marilyn
Note: most suitable for primary students, but can be modified


  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
  13. Monkeys–no tails
    gorilla–endangered species
  14. Bats
    night flyer book
  15. African animal version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
    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 habitats
  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
    sequence 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.
  32. Paper mache mask of favorite African animal
  33. Paper mache calabash (bowl)
  34. 3-D animal
  35. Diorama of habitat with animals in shoebox

In the End: An 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!

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.


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