Map of Africa
Natural History
Classroom Ideas

Geography and Culture

- Family Traditions
- Role of Masks
- Making a Living & Leisure Activities
- Healing Art
- Making Peace
- Origins and Identity
- The Meaning of Rock Art
- Spiritual Power of Symbols
- Community & Architechture
(Academy Library)
- African People
- African Animals
African Photos


How to Use This Lesson

This lesson is part of a series developed by the Bowers Museum of Art. Each lesson is designed to transmit the cultural and artistic traditions of Africa in a manner appropriate to the existing California State curricula and stresses the involvement of all of the senses in the learning process.

Teachers can discover firsthand the vitality, richness and significance of African peoples, their communities through out the world, and the natural riches of the African continent through the explanatory material provided under BACKGROUND MATERIAL and by visits to the Africa: One Continent. Many Worlds. web site.

The lessons were written for teachers and is designed to be adaptable for grades K-12. After a preliminary review of the lessons, teachers can modify their approach or chosen language as appropriate to their student's grade level. Teachers are free to branch out beyond the suggested activities, to engage in class discussion, writing or observation, depending on the method of learning most suitable for the students involved. Whenever possible, the study of Africa should be supplemented by museum visits and visits to the Africa: One Continent. Many Worlds. web site.

The illustrations and maps associated with the lessons and found throughout the web site may be photocopied for distribution to students by teachers. Commercial use is prohibited.

Purposes and Goals

Traditional African art promotes the ideals of the society in which it was created. It is used to assist adolescents in becoming responsible adults, to foster the health and well-being of its citizens, to assist the elderly in preparation for death, to link the world of the living with those who have passed away as well as to sustain an abundance of food, and to teach individuals about their dependence on the environment and the community of beings.

In traditional Africa, such teachings are transmitted from the older to the younger generation and from the initiated to the uninitiated. Initiation marks the passage from one stage of being to another. It is a process of nurturing and training, which results in a more knowledgeable and mature human being. The universal truth of these ideas makes them acceptable among the group, especially during transition or turmoil. It can prompte healing and social harmony among conflicting factions or groups.

In contemporary American society, the role of educating and nurturing the younger generation belongs to our teachers, who can use these lessons to learn how to teach and illustrate African culture to their students. Through these lessons, teachers and students of all ages and ethnic backgrounds will become more aware of the contributions of Africa to world culture. A greater understanding of African heritage will contribute to a greater respect for the achievements of African and African-American people.


CAS home  

Material on this page was contibuted by the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art with the generous support of Disneyland.