The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 2: Exploring the Americas

Web Lesson Plans

In this chapter students have read about the people of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Each group developed its own culture, built cities, traded, and fought wars. In West Africa a series of three great kingdoms arose—Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. In this activity students will take a closer look at the accomplishments and eventual downfalls of these three kingdoms.

Lesson Description
Students will visit a Web site about ancient African kingdoms. They will answer questions about Ghana, Mali, Songhai, and Great Zimbabwe, and then write a one-page paper from the perspective of an archaeologist studying the ancient ruins of one of the cities.

Instructional Objectives
  1. The learner will be able to describe the accomplishments of three ancient African kingdoms.
  2. The learner will understand how artifacts can reveal information about past civilizations.
Student Web Activity Answers
  1. First of all, the kingship was matrilineal—it was the sister of the king who provided the heir to the throne. Also, the king was assisted by a People's Council whose members were chosen from the various social strata.
  2. Under Mansa Musa Timbuctu became one of the cultural centers of the entire world. Libraries and Islamic universities were built, and the city became a meeting place for the finest poets, scholars, and artists of Africa and the Middle East.
  3. It is generally accepted that the ruins of Great Zimbabwe reflect the culture of the Shona peoples, a Bantu-speaking ethnic group. The name "Zimbabwe" comes from the Shona and means "House of Stone."
  4. Songhai's size led to its downfall. A vastly spread empire, it encompassed more territory than it could control. Various peoples began to revolt, regions began to declare independence, and the Moroccans were able to defeat Songhai in 1591.
  5. Students' papers will vary.
Glencoe Online Learning CenterSocial Studies HomeProduct InfoSite MapContact Us

The McGraw-Hill CompaniesGlencoe