Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Africans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations

Opini, Bathsheba (Author)
Lee, Richard B. (Author)
Annick Press 2011. 48 pages
First published: 2011
Series: We Thought of It
ISBN: 9781554512768 (paperback)
9781554512775 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 960
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

layout, multimodal, setting, structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This is an engaging peek into the traditions and innovations of a variety of African cultures. Maps depict African countries and topography. Quality photography showcases beautiful settings, tools and weapons, plants and animals. One image shows the fingertips of a San hunter, applying a poisonous beetle chrysalis to his arrow tip. Another shows wrestling combatants, cheered by a crowd. “For young men, wrestling was an important part of the ceremonies.… In western and northern Africa, women would wrestle each year after the harvest.”

The layout divides text into brief sections. Straightforward language offers headings and captions to draw readers in. The chapter “Architecture” discusses building techniques: “at the University of Timbuktu in Mali, wattle and daub was used to create buildings with five or six floors … living space for people who came to study … in medieval times.” Under “Medicine and Healing,” a gorgeously green venomous tree snake illustrates the section on “Snakebite Inoculation”: “the healer made cuts into the skin on various parts of the body.”

This attractive book finishes with a chapter called “Africa Today” and a timeline of African history. Also of great interest are the authors’ notes at the front.

  •  

    What do you know about the different regions, languages, cultures and traditions of Africa? In small groups, create a mind map with this information. Adjust it as you read and learn.

  •  

    Which countries do you know on the map on page 10? Which ones are new to you? As you explore the vignettes, write the name and a short description of the innovation on a sticky note. Post these on the appropriate country on an enlarged map of Africa. Discuss how some of the objects or innovations are/could be useful in your life.

  •  

    Reflect on what you have learned about Africa’s traditions and cultures. Make a Top 10 list of interesting facts.

  •  In a group, select one area of innovation (shelter, food, transportation, etc.). Create a multimedia presentation that explains the evolution, importance and relevance of some of the inventions.
  •  

    What do you know about the African continent, regions, languages, cultures and traditions? In small groups, create a mind map with this information and adjust it as you learn. 

  •  

    Which countries do you know on the map on page 10? Which ones are new to you? As you explore the vignettes, write the name and a short definition of the innovation on a sticky note. Post these on the appropriate country on an enlarged map of Africa. Discuss how the innovations are represented.

  •  

    Discuss how the objects are/could be useful in your life.

  •  Prepare an innovations KWL chart based on the maps on pages 10 and 11, then share your information with a partner. Finalize the chart after you read.
  •  

    As you read, draw parallels between the featured African innovations and their North American equivalents.

  •  Complete your KWL chart from earlier.
  •  

    Choose (10) amazing innovations from the book and prepare a fact card for each. Compare cards with a partner and discuss any similarities, omitted information and the reasons for your choices.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Science and Technology