Activities to Teach Students About the Ghana Empire
The Ghana Empire was a powerful West African trading state that rose to prominence between the 6th and 13th centuries AD. Teaching students about the Ghana Empire is a great way to broaden their historical perspective and showcase the rich cultural diversity of Africa. This article will highlight a few engaging activities that teachers can use to teach students about the Ghana Empire.
The Ghana Empire had a rich tradition of oral storytelling, and this is a great way to engage students and bring the history of the empire to life. Teachers can use folktale stories like “Anansi the Spider” or “The Tale of Sundiata” to illustrate the values and customs of Ghanaian society. Students can also be encouraged to tell their own stories about the empire, using their imagination to fill in the gaps and add to our understanding of the era.
2. Mapping and Geography
The Ghana Empire was located in West Africa, and understanding the geography of the region is crucial to understanding its history. Teachers can engage students in mapping activities that show the location of the empire, its trading partners, and natural resources like gold and salt. Students can also identify and label important trade routes that linked Ghana with other regions of the continent.
Role-playing is a great way to help students imagine what life was like in the Ghana Empire. Students can be assigned roles such as traders, farmers, or royalty and asked to act out scenarios that illustrate the daily life and customs of the time. Teachers can also encourage students to research and develop their roles, adding depth and authenticity to their performances.
4. Art and Music
The Ghana Empire was renowned for its colorful textiles, intricate metalwork, and vibrant music. Teachers can incorporate these elements into their lessons by encouraging students to create their own artworks and music inspired by the empire. Students can learn traditional weaving techniques like kente cloth, or create masks and other sculptures based on Ghanaian designs. They can also explore the rhythms and melodies of African music, and learn to play traditional instruments like the djembe or balafon.
5. Research Projects
Finally, teachers can assign research projects that allow students to delve deeper into the history and culture of the Ghana Empire. Students can research specific aspects of the empire such as its trading partners, political structure, or religious beliefs. They can also explore the lives of important historical figures like Mansa Musa or Sonni Ali, and present their findings to the class in the form of papers, presentations, or multimedia displays.
In conclusion, teaching students about the Ghana Empire is an excellent way to broaden their historical and cultural knowledge. By incorporating activities like storytelling, mapping, role-playing, art and music, and research projects, teachers can engage their students in a meaningful exploration of this fascinating era of African history.