Unit One: Why Study Africa?
Module One: Exploring the Diversity of Africa
Activity Two, Exercise A: The Size of Africa - Engage
After showing the maps below, the teacher will ask the questions which follow:
- What is the difference between these two maps?
- Which of the two maps is the most accurate image of Africa in the world?
The difference between the two maps has at least two components:
- size (of continents respective to one another)
- centrality (again, of continents respective to one another)
Notice that in the map on the left, Africa looks much bigger than it does on the map on the right. In fact, the United States can fit several times into the outline of Africa in the map on the left, while in the map on the right the United States looks about the same size as Africa. The key to the second question, "Which is more accurate?" is the position of the equator, in the map on the left, it divides the map in half, just as we know that the equator divides the world in half. In fact, these are two different ways of creating maps, an art that we call "cartography." The map on the left is called a Peterson’s projection," while the map on the right is called a "Mercator projection." So, the map on the left is a more realistic image of Africait gives us a better idea of how big Africa is in relation to the rest of the worldin fact, it is the second largest continent in the world. So it’s a lot bigger than the traditional map would have us believe.
- What happens when we see maps of Africa that show it being very small?
- How does that influence the way we think about Africa?
- What do we think when we see maps that show the United States being just about as big as Africa, even though in reality Africa is much, much bigger?
- What do you think now that you see how big Africa is?
Go on to Images of Africa or select from the other activities in this lesson plan below:
Other Activities in this lesson plan include: