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Unit 5: Sub-Saharan Africa

Learning Team Activity

The purpose of Learning Team Activities is to add depth to our understanding about important topics in geography. While each individual focuses on a singular topic, the idea is that these teams serve as online communities where students discuss and add value to their collective knowledge. Students should read their teammates’ work and leave comments that ask questions, add insight, make connections, or otherwise support learning in some way.

Select one of the following missions by claiming it on your learning team blog. Try to choose a mission that you have not yet done. Complete the mission to the best of your ability and share your work with the team on the blog.

(1) Africa’s Physical Features (1-2 person mission, claimed by: Arin and Maddie)

  • Scan 20.1, 20.2, the introductory sections on pp. 492 – 502, and the special section on Wildlife Conservation on pp. 562 – 563 for information about Africa’s physical geography.
  • Choose the top ten physical or climatic features for Africa in terms of the role they played in shaping Africa’s development as a cultural region. This can include landforms, water features, or even weather-related features.
  • For each feature, include a picture, a description, and an explanation as to why it is significant to Africa’s development. Consider whether the feature was conducive to settlement, isolation, invasion, etc. You may need to do additional research to learn more about each feature in order write a good description/explanation.
  • Set one of your pictures as the feature picture to represent European physical geography on the learning team home page.
  • After your top-ten list, include honorable mentions, which do not require pictures or descriptions.
  • At the bottom of your post, cite your sources, which should include your book and links to your pictures as well as any other sources used. Use MLA format.

(2) Africa’s Historical Influences (2-3 person mission, claimed by: Stephanie, W. Baker, C. Hartsell)

  • Scan the “History and Government” sections in 21.1 – 21.5 to compile a complete list of important events that helped shape Africa as a region.
  • Collaborating on timetoast.com, dipity.com, or simply on a single post on the learning team blog, list all historical events.
  • For each event, include a picture, a date or range of dates, a description of the event, and a statement of how the event influenced the region.
  • Consider, specifically, which events may be responsible for Africa’s poor state of affairs today.
  • On your learning team page, include a short description of your timeline at the top of your post. If you used dipity.com or timetoast.com, include a screen shot and a link to your timeline. You should include a highlight from your timeline that you consider particularly relevant.

(3) African Culture (1-2 person mission, claimed by: Braylon Smith & Adrianne Owings )

  • Scan the “Culture” section in 21.1 – 21.5 for information about important cultural features of Africa.
  • Choose the top ten most significant cultural features of Africa. Features may be from the visual arts, literature, education, healthcare, music, recreation, or any other aspect of culture. Give priority to cultural traits that span multiple regions of Africa and that have a significant impact of the cultural geography of the region.
  • For each feature, include a picture, a description, and an explanation as to why it is important. Consider, specifically, how culture helps define this cultural region. You may need to do additional research to learn more about each feature in order write a good description/ explanation.
  • Set one of your pictures as the feature picture to represent African culture on the learning team home page.
  • After your top-ten list, include honorable mentions, which do not require pictures or descriptions.
  • At the bottom of your post, cite your sources, which should include your book and links to your pictures as well as any other sources used. Use MLA format.

(4) Perspective: Sub-Saharan Africa and the slave trade  (1 person mission, claimed by: Emily Franks)

  • Scan sections 21.1 – 21.5 for information about early contact between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. Focus on the time period, 1400s – 1700s, which saw the beginning of Portuguese exploration, the creation of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the fall of many African societies disrupted by the slave trade. You do NOT need to cover the main era of colonization in Africa, which began in the 1800s.
  • Write an article that explains the impact of early European contact and the accompanying slave trade on Sub-Saharan Africa. You will need to do additional research to better understand this topic.
  • Be sure to answer the following questions:
    • Why did the Portuguese begin to explore the African coast?
    • What was at the center of the trade relationships that formed between Europeans and Sub-Saharan Africans?
    • How did the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade impact Sub-Saharan Africa and its people?
    • How might the impact of the slave trade have impacted later European colonization in the 1800s?
  • Insert a picture at the top of the page that adds meaning to your post, and set it as your feature picture.
  • Use at least three sources. At the bottom of your post, cite your sources, which should include your book and a link to your picture as well as any other sources used. Use MLA format.

(5) Perspective: Imperialism’s Impact on Sub-Saharan Africa (1 person mission, claimed by: Mitch Ross )

  • Scan sections 21.1 – 21.5 for information about the impact of European colonization on Sub-Saharan Africa and its people. Focus on the time period, 1800s – 1900s, which saw European powers divide Africa into over 40 colonies and then saw those former colonies struggle with numerous problems following their independence.
  • Write an article that describes European colonization of Africa and explains how that colonization impacted the continent.
  • Be sure to answer the following questions:
    • What is imperialism? How did Africa experience imperialism?
    • Why did European powers colonize Africa in the 1800s? What may have facilitated this colonization?
    • What impact did colonization have on local ethic groups? What role might “divide and conquer” tactics have had on ethnic conflict after independence?
    • What are some prominent examples of ethnic conflict stemming from European colonization? Explain.
    • How did independence create a “power vacuum” in many parts of Africa?
    • What are some prominent examples of conflict created by such a “power vacuum?”
    • What did European imperialism do to local economies in Africa?
    • How are the economic structures created during imperialism perpetuated today?
    • What other problems exacerbate the weak governments and economies left by an era of colonial rule.
  • Insert a picture at the top of the page that adds meaning to your post, and set it as your feature picture.
  • Use at least three sources. At the bottom of your post, cite your sources, which should include your book and a link to your picture as well as any other sources used. Use MLA format.

(6) Perspective: Environmental Challenges in Africa (1 person mission, claimed by: Madeline Tabor)

  • Scan sections 21.1 – 22.2 for information about environmental factors that impact Africa.
  • Write an article that explains the many environmental challenges faced by Africa. You may need to do additional research to better understand this topic.
  • Be sure to answer the following questions:
    • What is “carrying capacity?” Why is carrying capacity an important concept for understanding Africa’s environmental challenges?
    • What parts of Africa have exceeded or are in danger of exceeding their carrying capacity? Be specific.
    • Explain desertification and why it is an issue in Africa.
    • Why is hunger an issue? How does war make it worse?
    • What health problems impact Africa?
    • Are governments able to successfully handle these problems? Why or why not?
    • While humans face many challenges from the environment, humans also negatively impact the environment in ways specific to Africa. Explain.
  • Insert a picture at the top of the page that adds meaning to your post, and set it as your feature picture.
  • Use at least three sources. At the bottom of your post, cite your sources, which should include your book and a link to your picture as well as any other sources used. Use MLA format.
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