Unit One: Why Study Africa?
Module Three: Examining Africa's Diversity
Activity One: Geography of Africa - Explain
Study the map of Africa and respond to the questions below.
- What different types of landforms (e.g. mountains, valleys, etc.) do you see in these pictures?
- What different types of climates (e.g. tropical, arid, etc.) do you see in these pictures?
- What different types of vegetation (e.g. savanna, forests, deserts, etc.) do you see in these pictures?
Click the small pictures on the map below to see larger, more detailed pictures.
This activity is meant to be a class discussion. Ask students to study the map on the computer, as an overhead projection, or as a handout, and answer the questions provided above.
Below, detailed responses are provided to enable the discussion.
- The beach picture (1) shows a coastal plain.
- The mountain picture (2) shows Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the tallest mountains in the world.
- The picture of the desert (3) shows a valley. Note the mountain in the background and the hills on the sides, which surround the desert valley.
- The picture of people plowing (4) shows the flat terrain that is typical of Africa’s plateaus, large raised areas of mostly level land.
- The picture of the huge valley (5) is of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. Note how the plateau, the flat raised land on the left of the picture, drops over a huge cliff, or escarpment, into the valley below. Also notice the clusters of mountains in the background and to the right.
- The beach picture (1) shows a tropical wet climate—look at how dense the trees are just beyond the beach. In tropical wet regions, it rains almost all the time.
- The mountain picture (2) shows a "highland" climate, where extremely high elevations make the weather very cool—Mount Kilamanjaro, for instance, is covered with snow year-round.
- The picture of the desert (3) shows an arid climate, one with very little rainfall.
- The picture of people plowing (4) shows a "tropical wet and dry" climate, a place where crops can be grown because it is not too hot nor too cold, and a long dry season alternates with a long wet season.
- The picture of the Great Rift Valley (5) also shows a semi-arid savanna.
- The beach picture(1) shows tropical vegetation, such as palm trees, ferns, and vines.
- The mountain picture (2) shows deciduous trees—the kind of tree that loses their leaves when the weather becomes cold.
- The picture of the desert (3) shows small shrubs, grass, and a few trees, typical of desert climates in both north and south Africa.
- The picture of people plowing (4) shows low-lying scrub forest.
- The picture of the Great Rift Valley (5) shows the tall grasses, thorny bushes, and scattered trees of the savanna. Note what a variety of landforms, climates, and vegetation can be found across Africa! Only some parts of Africa look like safari pictures, many other parts have landforms, plateaus, and climates similar to places in the United States.
Go on to Activity 2: African Cultures or select from the other activities in this lesson plan below:
Other Activities in this lesson plan include:
- The Geography of Africa
- African Cultures
- African Religion
- Making a Living in Africa
- Transportation in Africa
See also Teacher Notes for Module Three