Monday, February 8, 2010

Continent Boxes: Africa

I wasn't sure which box to start with. I finally decided to start with the box I contributed to the exchange, Africa, to give you an idea of what you might be able to put together yourself without doing an exchange. The other boxes are a little more personal and have a few little souvenirs in each of them. Fortunately, my husband spent a few days in Eygpt on a trip he took before we were married. Once I con him into locating and letting me paw through his souvenirs I should be able to add a few things.

This is, obviously, the box. I pin punched a sandpaper continent for the top of each.

I made a cd of a variety of songs from African children's games as well as performances by African children's choirs and African drumming groups. If you are doing this with middle school-aged children it might be fun to use current pop music from that continent as well.

At the bottom of the photo you can see the stamps I made with the help of Google images. If you wanted to be more authentic, Ebay is a good option here.

These are the pertinent cards from the Rand McNally set that I purchased. They included Abu Simbel, the Great Mosque of Djenne, the Great Pyramid of Giza, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater, Table Mountain, Victoria Falls, and an Africa facts card.

For the swap I put together book about the "day in the life of a child in Africa." Here are some of the pages in the book (still currently unbound. I own a comb binder, but if I laminate it won't punch the holes without breaking. I can't decide if I want to laminate or not.). I wrote about Ngigi, and Igbo girl in Nigeria. I was able to put this together using the educator's kit found here.

We were also to include a little book about a festival in that country. I wrote about an Igbo wedding and incorporated it into my "day in the life" book.

All of the photos for the booklet were found on the BBC news site. The instructions in the educators kit I mentioned previously direct you to different albums on the BBC site. In addition to the Igbo Wedding, there are at least FORTY other albums of pictures. Twenty of them are narrated "photo journals" that can be made into books (Freetown Family, etc.,). Others are collections of photos by theme (Signs, weather, landscapes) etc.,

I included many photos of African children right away, here are just a few.

I also had a very large stack of additional pictures printed for ourselves. I obviously will not be putting all of these things into the box at once. (I took the picture of the "stack" next to some currency to try to put it in perspective).

We all included a paper doll in our boxes. I cheated and found mine in the African Boy and Girl paper doll set by Dover. She has a lot more clothes to choose from, but I'm keeping it simple to start. I chose this outfit because it would be typical of something Ngigi might have worn to the Igbo wedding in the booklet. Also pictured is the recipe card I sent (simple enough for a child to assist in making) and an ostrich feather that fell out of my duster (ostriches are from Africa, hey?).

Next is the Africa book from our continents series, an extra papyrus from my husband's trip to Egypt and actual pictures of my husband doing interesting things in Egypt. I was glad to have some more personal photos to send along.

In one of the photos he is climbing the step pyramid.

"One of these musicians is not like the other..."

Finally, the box holds some Toob animals and African currency.

Whoops! I forgot to take pictures of our Africa flags, but I'm sure you get the idea.

To sum up, here are some resources for filling out your own Africa studies.

Other posts in this series:

Continent Boxes: Antarctica
Continent Boxes: The Challenge
Continent Boxes: Australia


  1. Great boxes! They look very much the same as the ones I made although I do not have nearly the amount of great objects as you!
    You can see our continent boxes here.

  2. Love your Africa box! The BBC news link looks like a great resource too. Never would have even thought of that!

    My problem with preschoolers and continent boxes is that during worktime, they only use the animals (and it turns into a big free for all too.) They don't really pay attention to the other aspects of the box during work time, and really only pay attntion to the other things unless I'm reading the book/describing the cards, etc. during line time.

    I suppose it would help if I understood a little better what the preschoolers were suppose to get out of the continent boxes. Perhaps it is o.k. if they are just free playing with the animals during work time, and learning things from the pictures, flags, cards, etc. during line time? Any ideas?

  3. Andie,

    We are just starting with this, but I do have some ideas.

    I have photos of all the miniature animals I have in the boxes for the boys to match with. Also, after this afternoon's "incident" I have a photo glossary of which animals go with which continent. It would be good to mix them together occasionally and have them sort them out.

    Put out only two of the boxes, but empty their contents into another container. They can sort things into the appropriate place as if it were a sound sort.

    Also, there are really only supposed to be a couple things actually IN these boxes at a time. Changing them frequently should keep the kids coming back to the boxes to see what's in there "this week." I would NOT have everything pictured in there at once.

    I find that you do have to sit down with them and do some reading/explaining each time you change the contents. Kal-El comes up to me and asks questions to help fill in the blanks of his memory when he works with them alone on subsequent occasions.

    I would NOT have the animals in there every week.

    I do keep the flags in there all the time. Every time he takes a box out Kal-El also takes out the globe of world parts, map of world parts, and his pin map. He likes to put the flag in each time. he also likes to find the continent on the globe an map and load some of the pix or objects on top of the continent. I included taking those things out as part of my continent box "presentation." Check out today's "how can I get mad" post to see what I mean ;)

    I have more materials than I need for this age group. I think they are supposed to get the idea that not all animals are from the same place and not all people live their lives the same way. I think they are also supposed to get the idea that these places look different from one another and that the weather is different. This is not a "what do we have in common" lesson at this age.

    I know you have elementary kids too, I'm sure you have a system already in place to keep cultural information stored for them. You could probably rotate things in and out of the preschool boxes from there.

  4. Thanks so much I loved looking inside your continent box, fabulous.

    I have started a making a list for mine now. Can't wait to see the others. If there is anything you need from down under please just yell. :)

    Kylie - - Home of The Home School Hop

  5. Hmmm, I have always just had one continent box out at a time instead of having them all out. I'm not sure I have the room to have them all out either, but that is an interesting thought to have more than one out, but rotate the things that are in the boxes. I rotate so many other things, but it never dawned on me to just have a couple things in the continent box at a time and rotate them!

    I like the photo gallery idea, and I think that this will definitely help cut down the amount of just free play with just the animals.

    The preschoolers haven't used the maps or flags much in conjuction with the boxes - the boxes tend to be an activity separate from the other things, but I think that I will encourage more of this type of activity too.

    My continent boxes for both the preschool and homeschool kids are photo boxes, but they each have their own set. But I have a storage closet in the preschool area that is very accessible, so I could rotate things out of the closet.

    Thank you SO much for the ideas!

  6. Andie,

    I'm glad it might help. I was typing fast and not editing myself as I went...not my best work.

  7. I have a quick question....have you seperated your Americas into North and South and do you know if this is standard to do so with the boxes?

  8. Sure Kylie, just lump us all together up here. (You must be lashing out because we all lump NZ and AU together.)

    Yes, I have NA and SA separated. I do believe this is standard.

  9. Thank you for all of the great resources!!

  10. ok thanks MBT, I really wasn't sure on that one hehehe.

    I have another question for you, full of them today aren't I!!

    Online 3- 6 cultural lessons I can't seem to find any, are you aware of any around at all?

  11. Wow! Impressive! I have a long way to go to fill all my boxes (just got them at Michaels...2 for $5)! I did notice I have the exact same papyrus which one of my students had given me from his homeland. Now only if I can remember where I put it!

    Thanks for sharing all the goodies. You've inspired me to reach higher...but it may take me a few years...

  12. Amazing!!! Love your Africa Box!!!! photos, childrens, A LITTLE BID OF EVERYTHING!!!! AMAZING!! GREAT JOB!!

  13. Kylie,

    I JUST looked through all of my resources earlier this week and was amazed that, no, there is NOT a free culture album online anywhere.

    Having basically purchased albums through Karen Tylers course...I feel pretty strongly that one can get by with the Gettman alone along with Meg's Montessori by Hand Language and Math albums (One, because her albums are so good, two because Gettman doesn't go all the way to the end). EXCEPT for culture. I would recommend buying JUST Karen's culture albums but I don't even see them all listed on her site and it would probably be $150or so to buy them because they are $20 or so an album and she splits culture into ecology, geology, physical science, zoology, botany, geography and history. The whole course (which includes all 12 albums) is only $150 so.... You could contact her and try to get a package price for just the culture...

    For about $62 you could buy all the Montessori Research and Development albums. I have never seen the inside of one so I don't know much about them. They do not have a physical science album.

  14. Thanks for sharing! I'm definately stealing the google images stamp idea; Short Pants will love that as he's so interested in mail. I hope you're planning on sharing your other continent boxes as well.

  15. Beautiful!!! I'll use those links!
    I'll bookmarked it :-)

    Your box have so interesting items!

  16. oh thanks again MBT, yes I have some of the R&D albums and no there is no culture, thanks so much for checking that out for me. I am yet to finish reading Gettman so'll have a jump through the book. Thanks again. :)

  17. When I used to teach, we used an on-line site which was awesome! They had a photo of a child in each country, journal entries of family, school, work, culture, etc. It also included a noon photo which was a mystery photo. The young travelers (20's -30) traveled to different places around the world and we would follow along with their maps and journal entires. It was wonderful but I don't they exist any more. It would be nice to create a day in the life of all the children around the world so we can see how others live in the modern day.

  18. That is amazing~! This is my first time here, and I wish I had seen your blog earlier! Great ideas!