Overview


Subject/Sub-Subject: Library/Other


Title: Life in a Box - Mansa Musa


Summary:

Students learn about Mansa Musa by examining numbered clues in a box.


Understanding Goal

The West African Empire of Mali contributed to our lives today.

Investigative Question

What might primary source evidence tell us trade, economic specialization and leadership this region of Africa?

Grade(s): 3, K
Audience: General
Learners: I shared this learning experience with a 3rd grade class of 21 students. This class has a talent for listening carefully and following directions. There are two students with attention deficits. I grouped both of them with very focused student leaders. None of these students have physical or emotional special needs, although several are quite argumentative. The teacher and I closely monitored the ones who were likely to disrupt the group activity.
Required Vocabulary: N/A
Prior Content Knowledge: N/A
Standards

Field Tests

Click on the title to expand the description of each field test

Sources

Life in a Box - Mansa Musa

Understanding Goal

The West African Empire of Mali contributed to our lives today.

Click on an image for more information.

Slideshow Icon View as a slideshow
Mecca, ca. 1910. Close-up of the Kaaba. Guinea propia, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigororum maxima pars: geographis hodiemis dicta utraque Aethiopia inferior, & hujus quidem pars australis African Peoples' Encounters With Others Guinea propia, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigororum maxima pars: geographis hodiemis dicta utraque Aethiopia inferior, & hujus quidem pars australis King Kobina of Elmina, Ghana A baby of the desert, Egypt The West African has won considerable repute for his skill as a craftsman. . . . Kente cloth is the name for the woven textiles produced by strip weaving by the masters of this technique, the Ashanti and Ewe peoples of West Africa. Designs were created specifically for royalty, for the wealthy, and for ceremonial occasions, and the status and gender of the wearer of each cloth was proclaimed to all those who saw it and understood the meanings conveyed by color and design. A camel train on the desert - Sinai (?)

Required Materials

Files

lifeinabox.doc
mansa_musa.jpg
sundiata.jpg

Web Sites

Introduction to Primary Sources

Directions

Investigation

Step 1 Print out the primary sources listed in the attachments.

Web Sites

Step 2 Create boxes that contain these primary sources, enough for approximately 5 students per box.
Step 3 Ask students to imagine three concrete items that they would use to represent themselves.
Step 4 Guess what each of the items might signify. (For example, a basketball might mean that the student enjoyed the sport or a chocolate bar might mean the student is a chocoholic.)
Step 5 Explain that sometimes, you guessed correctly. Other times, incorrectly. The items the students chose were clues, but did not tell the whole story. Much like these items, primary source materials give us clues about somebody's life, but cannot give us the whole story.
Step 6 Explain to students that they will now investigate primary source materials that tell them about a person's life and culture and share their findings with the whole class. Then, we will talk about how these items relate to their unit on Mali.
Step 7 Give directions to students: They will break into groups of 4-5 students and have about 10 minutes to describe, examine, question and suggest additions to the items in the box.
Step 8 Give each group the Life in a Box worksheet (attached as a Word document).

Files

Step 9 Review each section of worksheet with group.
Step 10 Allow time for the students to answer the questions that they had written down after they complete the worksheet.
Step 11 Guide the student in refining their answers and their questions, if needed.
Step 12 Give students 10-15 minutes to complete worksheet and then call them together again.
Step 13 Begin a discussion about what each group found. Ask each group to show each item in their box to the group and read their notes aloud. Allow each group to share their presentation.
Step 14 Show the items using an overhead projector or an LCD projector, if necessary during the presentations.
Step 15 Show the items using an overhead projector or an LCD projector, if necessary during the presentations.
Step 16 Ask students if they saw examples of trade. If not, use guided questioning to narrow their focus. (Examples such as A camel train on the desert - Sinai (?) and The West African has won considerable repute for his skill as a craftsman. . . . include evidence of trade.)
Step 17 Differentiate instruction by asking students what types of goods might be traded by a camel train. (Textiles, Salt, Gold, etc.)
Step 18 Ask students if one town or city depends on another town or city for a certain good, and the original town depends on the second for money, what is this? (Interdependence.)
Step 19 Ask students if they saw examples of economic specialization. If not, employ guided questioning to narrow their focus. (The prints entitled, The West African has won considerable repute for his skill as a craftsman. . . . and African Majesty: The Textile Art of the Ashanti and the Ewe both include evidence of economic specialization.)
Step 20 Ask if anyone saw examples of a group leader, such as Sundiata or Mansa Musa. If not, use guided questioning to narrow their focus. (One example of a leader is the photo entitled, King Kobina of Elmina, Ghana. Another is a kingly figure in the lower right of "Mapamundi, the Catalan Atlas of the Year 1375.")

Files

Step 21 Differentiate instruction by asking high-achieving students to compare this leader (in photograph) with Sundiata, Mansa Musa and the current U.S. president.

Files

Best Instructional Practices


Understanding Goal

The West African Empire of Mali contributed to our lives today.

Investigative Question

What might primary source evidence tell us trade, economic specialization and leadership this region of Africa?


Analysis of Student Learning


Students made connections about their social studies lesson. They commented how the photographs and prints reminded them of their worksheets, videos and classroom projects. They correctly identified examples of trade, economic specialization, economic interdependence and leadership in the primary sources. They compared the ancient kings of Mali with the U.S. president today.


Analysis of Best Instructional Practices (learn more)

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Reflections and Recommendations


Originally, I had intended to read Khephra Burns' _Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali_ (See image of front cover, attached). I wanted to share the story to the class first, then use the above lesson as a literature extension and primary source learning activity. Because of time constraints, I was not able to do so. This is a shame, because if we had more time for the lesson, it would have been more meaningful for students. As it was, we only had two library visits (a total of about 45 minutes) total learning time. I recommend spreading this lesson out over three visits, not just two. I really like the way Diane Bounds introduced Primary Sources in her lesson (see attachment, "Introduction to Primary Sources"). Next time, I will follow her format a little more closely. Hers is a great introduction to primary source materials.

Credits

Authors and Contributors

Jeffrey Brady
Nottingham Elementary School, Arlington County Public Schools, Virginia

Library of Congress Items

Library of Congress items used in this Lesson Plan.

Thumbnail Library of Congress Item
Mecca, ca. 1910. Close-up of the Kaaba. American Colony Jerusalem. Mecca, ca. 1910. Close-up of the Kaaba. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs, Matson Negatives .
Guinea propia, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigororum maxima pars: geographis hodiemis dicta utraque Aethiopia inferior, & hujus quidem pars australis Unknown. 1743. Guinea propia, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigororum maxima pars: geographis hodiemis dicta utraque Aethiopia inferior, & hujus quidem pars australis . Library of Congress: Exhibitions, Ancient Manuscripts: From the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu.
African Peoples' Encounters With Others Cresques, A. 1387. African Peoples' Encounters With Others. Library of Congress: Research Centers, African & Middle Eastern Reading Room.
Guinea propia, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigororum maxima pars: geographis hodiemis dicta utraque Aethiopia inferior, & hujus quidem pars australis Unknown. 1743. Guinea propia, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigororum maxima pars: geographis hodiemis dicta utraque Aethiopia inferior, & hujus quidem pars australis . Library of Congress: Exhibitions, Ancient Manuscripts: From the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu.
King Kobina of Elmina, Ghana Unknown. ca. 1890s. King Kobina of Elmina, Ghana. Library of Congress: Research Centers, African & Middle Eastern Reading Room.
A baby of the desert, Egypt Keystone View Company. c1899. A baby of the desert, Egypt. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs, Sterograph Cards.
The West African has won considerable repute for his skill as a craftsman. . . . Unknown. n.d.. The West African has won considerable repute for his skill as a craftsman. . . . . Library of Congress: Research Centers, African & Middle Eastern Reading Room.
Kente cloth is the name for the woven textiles produced by strip weaving by the masters of this technique, the Ashanti and Ewe peoples of West Africa. Designs were created specifically for royalty, for the wealthy, and for ceremonial occasions, and the status and gender of the wearer of each cloth was proclaimed to all those who saw it and understood the meanings conveyed by color and design. Unknown. 1992. Kente cloth is the name for the woven textiles produced by strip weaving by the masters of this technique, the Ashanti and Ewe peoples of West Africa. Designs were created specifically for royalty, for the wealthy, and for ceremonial occasions, and the status and gender of the wearer of each cloth was proclaimed to all those who saw it and understood the meanings conveyed by color and design. Library of Congress: Research Centers, African & Middle Eastern Reading Room.
A camel train on the desert - Sinai (?) Jackson, William H. (1894). A camel train on the desert - Sinai (?). Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs, World's Transportation Commission.