A Golden Age: Three West African Empires Grade Seven

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1 History Ohio Standards Connection: Benchmark D Describe the effects of interactions among civilizations during the 14 th through the 18th centuries. Indicator 6 Describe the importance of the West African empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay including: a. Trade routes; b. Products; c. The spread of the Arabic language; d. The spread of Islam. Social Studies Skills and Methods Benchmark B Organize historical information in text or graphic format and analyze the information in order to draw conclusions. Indicator 1 Describe historical events and issues from the perspectives of people living at the time in order to avoid evaluating the past in terms of today s norms and values. Lesson Summary: Students will work in groups to research the kingdoms and rulers of Ghana, Mali and Songhay, trade routes and trade goods, and the spread of Islam and the Arabic language. They will show evidence of learning through presentations, graphic organizers, map work and an extended response that includes describing achievements of these empires from two perspectives. The lesson allows each group to decide how to present its findings to the class. Estimated Duration: Four hours and 30 minutes Commentary: Through the use of research, cooperative learning and presentations, this lesson brings together History and Social Studies Skills and Methods. Students will work in groups to investigate three West African empires and then share their findings with the class. To be prepared for this lesson, students need to be familiar with the geographic origins, founding and teachings of Islam studied in the sixth grade. Teachers should familiarize themselves with West African history during the 14 th through 18 th centuries. Some world history texts include a section on West African Empires, but they may not provide enough details for the research required in this lesson. It will probably be necessary to supplement classroom resources with resources from the school or public library and the Internet. Pre-Assessment: Divide the class into groups of four to five students. Distribute the Pre-Assessment, Attachment A. Have each group discuss the statements, brainstorm possible answers and fill in the blanks. Tell the students that their responses will not be graded, but will be used to assess their prior knowledge and to help select ways for them to meet the two indicators. Scoring Guidelines: Discuss the students answers and provide the correct answers. Use the results to determine how instruction can be modified and targeted to help students meet the indicators. 1

2 Answers to Pre-Assessment Questions 1. location, available resources, well-organized government 2. monopoly 3. Mediterranean 4. Nile 5. savanna 6. salt 7. gold 8. Islam 9. It led to centralized military and political power and provided a written language. 10. It was often accomplished through force and war. The West Africans had their own religious beliefs. Post-Assessment: Have students label and identify trade routes and products, and write a three paragraph extended response for the post-assessment. See Attachment B, Post-Assessment. Scoring Guidelines: Use the rubric provided on Attachment B. Instructional Procedures: Day One 1. Review the benchmarks, indicators and pre-assessment with students. 2. Distribute, read and discuss Attachment C, Rulers of West African Empires. 3. Explain that the lesson will deal with five topics: a. Trade Routes and Products b. The Arab Perspective: Positive Effects of the Spread of Islam and the Arabic Language into West Africa c. The West African Perspective: Negative Effects of the Spread of Islam and the Arabic Language into West Africa d. A Comparison of West African Empires: Ghana, Mali and Songhay e. A Comparison of West African Rulers: Tenakmenin, Mansa Musa and Askia Toure 4. Divide the class into five groups. Assign each group one of the five topics and give the members of each group copies of the appropriate guide/matrix, either Attachment D, E, F, G or H. 5. Explain that each group is to use textbooks, trade books, the Internet and other resources to research the assigned topic. 6. Explain that each team will share the results of their research in a presentation to the rest of the class. The presentation should be no longer than five minutes. 7. If time permits, begin the research. Days Two and Three 8. As the groups research their topics, circulate to monitor and provide assistance as needed. 2

3 Day Four 9. Allow each group to decide how to present the results of their research. Involve the class in preparing a rubric for the presentations. 10. Have the students review the pre-assessment questions for homework. Remind them that they may use their answers and notes during the post-assessment. Day Five 11. Have students present their research findings to the class. Presentations should be no more than five minutes. Before the presentations begin, tell students to take notes during the presentations for two reasons: a. Fill in any gaps in their prior knowledge; b. Identify any statements/issues that relate to current events and/or to their own personal interests. 12. After each presentation, give students the opportunity to ask clarifying questions and to share any new insights. 13. After all the presentations have been given, share your evaluation with each group, using the rubric prepared with student input. 14. Have students review their answers, notes and group reports for homework. Remind them that they may use them during the post-assessment. Day Six 15. Conduct the Post-Assessment, Attachment B. Differentiated Instructional Support: Instruction is differentiated according to learner needs to help all learners either meet the intent of the specified indicator(s) or, if the indicator is already met, to advance beyond the specified indicator(s). Have students work with a peer tutor, a written outline or visual aids. Have students select an independent study project related to the West African empires and present findings to the class. Extensions: Have students research trade patterns in East African sites such as Kilwa. Compare trading patterns and trade products throughout Africa. Have students research the roots of Islam and its role in the world today. Homework Options and Home Connections: Instruct students to look for current events in Africa reported in newspapers and on the news. They should then locate the places from the news on maps in the classroom. Assign students to investigate what products or artwork are currently produced in Africa and see if they have any in their homes. Samples can be shared and discussed in class. 3

4 Interdisciplinary Connections: English Language Arts Research Benchmark E: Communicate findings orally, visually and in writing or through multimedia. Indicator 8: Use a variety of communication techniques, including oral, visual, written or multimedia reports to present information that supports a clear position with organized and relevant evidence about the topic or research question. Materials and Resources: The inclusion of a specific resource in any lesson formulated by the Ohio Department of Education should not be interpreted as an endorsement of that particular resource, or any of its contents, by the Ohio Department of Education. The Ohio Department of Education does not endorse any particular resource. The Web addresses listed are for a given site s main page, therefore, it may be necessary to search within that site to find the specific information required for a given lesson. Please note that information published on the Internet changes over time, therefore the links provided may no longer contain the specific information related to a given lesson. Teachers are advised to preview all sites before using them with students. For the teacher: Resources on West Africa, access to the Internet. For the students: Outline map of Africa, resources on West Africa, access to the Internet. Vocabulary: barter Islam merchant monopoly perspective savanna Technology Connections: Search the Washington State University site for information on African civilizations : Access background information available from the University of Pennsylvania: Research Connections: Marzano, R. et al., Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Summarizing and note-taking are two of the most powerful skills to help students identify and understand the most important aspects of what they are learning. 4

5 Cooperative learning grouping has a powerful effect on student learning. This type of grouping includes the following elements: Positive interdependence; Face-to-face promotive interaction; Individual and group accountability; Interpersonal and small group skills; Group processing. General Tips: Conduct ongoing assessment and student self-assessment throughout instruction as opportunities for observation or reflection arise. In addition, conduct planned assessment after the presentations. Some textbooks contain information about these kingdoms, but may not provide enough material to help students meet the benchmarks/indicators. Additional resources may be needed. The research topics are of differing levels of difficulty and can be assigned according to student needs. The presentations can be given in forms that utilize multiple intelligences: visual/spatialillustration; bodily/kinesthetic-skit; verbal/linguistic-television news reporter. Attachments: Attachment A, Pre-Assessment Attachment B, Post-Assessment Attachment C, Rulers of West African Empires Attachment D, Trade Routes and Products Attachment E, The Arab Perspective: Positive Effects of the Spread of Islam and of the Arabic Language into West Africa Attachment F, The West African Perspective: Negative Effects of the Spread of Islam and the Arabic Language into West Africa Attachment G, A Comparison of Three West African Empires: Ghana, Mali and Songhay Attachment H, A Comparison of West African Rulers: Tenkamenin, Mansa Musa and Askia Toure 5

6 Attachment A Pre-Assessment Names: History, Indicator 6: Describe the importance of the West African empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay including: a. Trade routes; b. Products; c. The spread of the Arabic language; d. The spread of Islam. Social Studies Skills and Methods, Indicator 1: Describe historical events and issues from the perspectives of people living at the time in order to avoid evaluating the past in terms of today s norms and values. Directions: Read the following incomplete statements. Discuss the statements and brainstorm possible answers with the other students in your group and fill in the blanks. 1. One factor that can lead to large-scale trade is. 2. In the 900s Ghana had a or complete control over the trade routes. 3. One trade route went from Ghana north to Tunis on the Sea. 4. Another trade route went from Ghana northeast to Cairo on the River. 5. Moroccan leather originated in the vegetation region of West Africa known as. 6. The mineral is a valuable trade product because it is essential in human diets. 7. is a highly valued metal that can be hammered thin or drawn out into new forms. 8. Some of the people who engaged in trade with West African empires practiced, the religion founded by Muhammad. 9. Arabs believed that the spread of their language and religion into West African empires was positive because. 10. West Africans believed the spread of the Arabic language and religion into West African empires was negative because. 6

7 Attachment B Post-Assessment Directions: This post-assessment has two parts: 1) the labeling of a map, and 2) the writing of an essay. You may use your answers, notes and group report as you complete this postassessment. 1. Use an outline map of Africa to complete the following tasks: Label Ghana, Fez, Tunis, Timbuktu and Cairo in the appropriate places; Draw the route from Ghana to Fez to Tunis; Draw the route from Ghana to Timbuktu to Cairo; Place four trade products on the trade routes, with arrows showing the direction of movement. You may either write or draw the products. 2. Write a three paragraph extended response describing the importance of the West African empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay and showing two perspectives about the spread of Islam and the Arabic language in West African empires. Content: Paragraph 1, West African empires: Describe an economic, political and cultural achievement of each West African empire. Include at least one supporting detail for each achievement. Paragraph 2, Arab perspective: Describe a positive effect of the spread of Islam and a positive effect of the spread of the Arabic language in West African empires. Include two supporting details for each effect. Paragraph 3, West African perspective: Describe a negative effect of the spread of Islam and a negative effect of the spread of the Arabic language in West African empires. Include two supporting details for each effect. Mechanics: Use complete sentences. Use correct spelling. 7

8 1. Trade Routes and Products Attachment B (continued) Post-Assessment Scoring Guide Trade Routes Trade Products Five sites were accurately identified and linked. The movement of four products is accurately shown. Four sites were accurately identified and linked. The movement of three products is accurately shown. Three sites were accurately identified and linked. The movement of two products is accurately shown. Two sites were accurately identified and linked. The movement of one product is accurately shown. 2. Extended Response West African Empires Arab Perspective West African Perspective Two One achievement achievements are is accurately accurately described with a described with a supporting detail. supporting detail for each. Three achievements are accurately described with a supporting detail for each. Two positive effects are accurately written with two supporting details for each effect. Two negative effects are accurately written with two supporting details for each effect. Two positive effects are accurately written with some supporting details. Two negative effects are accurately written with some supporting details. One positive effect is accurately written with some supporting details. One negative effect is accurately written with some supporting details. One achievement is accurately described. One positive effect is accurately written. One negative effect is accurately written. Mechanics Sentence structure All sentences are grammatically correct. There are few grammatical errors. There are some grammatical errors. Spelling All words are correctly spelled. Points out of 28 possible points There are few misspelled words. There are some misspelled words. There are many grammatical errors. There are many misspelled words. 8

9 Attachment C Rulers of West African Empires Tenkamenin King of Ghana A.D. The country of Ghana reached the height of its greatness during the reign of Tenkamenin. Through his careful management of the gold trade across the Sahara Desert into West Africa, Tenkamenin s empire flourished economically. But his greatest strength was in government. Each day he would ride out on horseback and listen to the problems and concerns of his people. He insisted that no one be denied an audience and that they be allowed to remain in his presence until satisfied that justice had been done. His principles of democratic monarchy and religious tolerance made Tenkamenin s reign one of the greatest examples of African rule. Mansa Kankan Musa King of Mali A.D. A flamboyant leader and world figure, Mansa Musa distinguished himself as a man who did everything on a grand scale. An accomplished businessman, he managed vast resources to benefit his entire kingdom. He was also a scholar, and imported noteworthy artists to heighten the cultural awareness of his people. In 1324 he led his people on the hadj, a holy pilgrimage from Timbuktu to Mecca. His caravan consisted of 60,000 people whom he led safely across the Sahara Desert and back, a total distance of 6,496 miles. So spectacular was this event that Mansa Musa gained the respect of scholars and traders throughout Europe, and won international prestige for Mali as one of the world s largest and wealthiest kingdoms. Askia Muhammad Toure King of Songhay A devout Muslim, Askia the Great ruled and administered Songhay strictly according to Muslim law. He divided his country into provinces, each with a professional administrator as governor, and ruled each fairly and uniformly through a staff of distinguished legal experts and judges. At times he fought established traditions to rule in the best interests of his people and adjusted the taxes to reduce the burden on the commoners. Askia Muhammad Toure united the entire central region of the Western Sudan, and organized a governmental machine that is still respected today for its efficiency. From Great Kings and Queens of Africa. Furnished for fair use by students and teachers through the courtesy of the International Black Student Alliance, Inc. 9

10 Attachment D Trade Routes and Products Directions: Research the West African trading empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay. Use the following questions and statements as a guide. Use your notes to prepare your presentation and for the post-assessment. 1. Explain how Ghana s location helped it become a wealthy trading center. 2. What resources made Taghaza and Walata important? 3. Describe the silent trade. 4. What two uses of salt made it a valuable trade product? 5. Identify: a. Three products other than salt that moved from the north to Ghana. b. Three products other than gold that moved from Ghana to the north. 6. One trade route from Ghana to Tunis passed through Marrakech and two other cities. Name the other two cities. 7. Imagine that you are a member of a caravan of traders traveling from Ghana to Cairo. Write an account of your journey including the distance, a description of the route and three dangers/problems you encountered and how you dealt with those challenges. The challenges must be those which a 16 th century trader would have encountered. 10

11 Attachment E The Arab Perspective: Positive Effects of the Spread of Islam and the Arabic Language into West African Empires Directions: Three factors are often cited as positive effects of the spread of Islam and the Arabic language into West Africa: 1. The building of universities; 2. The centralization of military and political power; 3. The provision of a written language. Research each of these factors, using the questions and statements below as a guide. Be sure you include details about each factor. Use your notes to prepare your presentation and for the post-assessment. 1. Describe the University of Sankore. In what city was it located? What was that city like? What types of manuscripts did it possess? From what areas did it attract scholars? 2. Explain three advantages of centralized military and political power. 3. Explain three advantages of having a written language. 11

12 Attachment F The West African Perspective: Negative Effects of the Spread of Islam and the Arabic Language into West Africa Directions: Three factors are often cited as negative effects of the spread of Islam and the Arabic language into West Africa: 1. The spread was sometimes accomplished through war, not trade; 2. West Africans had their own religious beliefs; 3. The oral tradition has great value. Research each of these factors, using the questions and statements below as a guide. Be sure you include details. Use your answers to prepare your presentation and for the postassessment. 1. What Almoravid leader invaded Ghana in 1062? Which city of Ghana had his forces reached by 1067? What happened to the people of that city when it finally fell to the Almoravids? 2. What are the three main beliefs of traditional Sudanese religions? Explain the role these beliefs play in the lives of its followers. 3. Explain the role that griots play in preserving and transmitting history. 12

13 Attachment G A Comparison of West African Empires: Ghana, Mali and Songhay Directions: Research four characteristics of the West African empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay: beginning and ending dates, extent of geographical area, major cities and sources of wealth. Use the data to write a comparison of the empires. Decide in which empire you would have preferred to live and write a paragraph explaining your choice. Use your notes to prepare your presentation and for the post-assessment. Empire Ghana Beginning and Ending Dates Extent of Geographical Area Major Cities Sources of Wealth Mali Songhay 13

14 Attachment H A Comparison of West African Rulers: Tenkamenin, Mansa Musa and Askia Toure Directions: Research the cultural, economic and political achievements of three West African rulers: Tenkamenin, Mansa Musa and Askia Toure. Use the data to write a comparison. Decide who you think was the most effective ruler and write a paragraph explaining your choice. Use your notes to prepare your presentation and for the postassessment. Ruler Cultural Achievement Economic Achievement Political Achievement Tenkamenin Mansa Musa Askia Toure 14

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