Exploring Our World: People, Places, and Cultures

Chapter 16: Physical Geography of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia

Web Activity Lesson Plans

In this chapter, students learned about the physical features and climate of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia. The settlement patterns and economic activities of cultures and nations are influenced by the geography of the region. The Sahara covers much of North Africa. Its landforms are diverse, ranging from massive sand dunes to desert oases to rocky plateaus with elevations higher than 11,000 feet (3,352.8 m). The Web site below helps students learn more about the geography, vegetation, animal life, and settlement of the Sahara region.

Lesson Description
Students will visit the PBS Web pages on the Sahara in the Explore Africa Web site. They will explore the physical features of the Sahara as well as how plants, animals, and people survive in the world’s largest desert.

Instructional Objectives

  1. The learner will be able to identify major geographic features of the Sahara.
  2. The learner will be able to discuss the ways plants, animals, and people adapt to life in the desert.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. Wadis are temporary water resources typically created by rainfall. Oases are fertile areas fed by underground water sources such as a spring, well, or irrigation system.
  2. Jerboa will burrow in the sand to stay cool; addax will suck moisture from shrubs and bushes; camels have soft feet suitable for walking on the sand, are able to go long periods without water, and eat the grasses that grow in the desert; scorpion limits its activities to the night when it is dark and cooler, and gets its water from sucking moisture from its prey; horned viper is colored to camouflage itself from prey and burrows into the sand to stay cool.
  3. Doum Palm and the Date Palm
  4. As the climate changed the area into desert, herding livestock and trading became common. The Tuareg are known for wearing blue scarves wrapped around their faces, which provide protection from the wind and heat.

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