Length of Lesson: 45-60 minutes



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Length of Lesson: 45-60 minutes
Context of Lesson: This lesson, which will span the length of one class session, will serve as a "hooking" activity. Students will be introduced to the unit's themes and concepts; at this point, they will start to synthesize questions about what they anticipate the unit to focus on as they are initially exposed to the unit problem. This lesson will be used in a 9th grade AP World History course.
Overview: Students will be divided into groups of four. Each group will receive a map of Africa divided into ambiguous sections, and with little instructions, students will be asked to identify each section. Students will be told that the map is to represent Africa during the late 19th century. Students may identify each section as a country (i.e. Kenya, South Africa, etc.), a region (i.e. North Africa, East Africa), or however they see fit. The purpose of this activity is to gauge how many students understand how the continent of Africa was divided amongst Imperial powers. We will follow this activity with a formal introduction to New Imperialism and the "Scramble for Africa," which will include a completed map and political cartoons.
Central problem/question: What happened in the early stages of New Imperialism, and how was Africa divided amongst the rest of the world?
Objectives: As a result of this lesson, students will be able to

  • identify the physical division of Africa amongst European powers (known as the "Scramble for Africa") through an assessment utilizing maps.

    • (Michigan Common Core State Standard CE 2.1.2 - Make supported inferences and draw conclusions based on informational print and multimedia features… and explain how authors and speakers use them to infer the organization of text and enhance understanding, convey meaning, and inspire or mislead audiences.)

  • become familiar with the motivations behind European powers and how they first began to occupy African territories, both directly and indirectly.

    • (Michigan High School Social Studies Content Expectation 6.1.3 Increasing Global Interconnections - Describe increasing global interconnections between societies, through the emergence and spread of ideas, innovations, and commodities including

      • constitutionalism, communism and socialism, republicanism, nationalism, capitalism, human rights, and secularization [National Geography Standard 10, p. 203]

      • the global spread of major innovations, technologies, and commodities via new global networks [National Geography Standard 11, p. 206] )


Anticipated student conceptions or challenges to understanding: Students might not yet understand why the demand for African territory increased during this time period if they do not yet have a solid grasp on the Industrial Revolution and world events, such as World War I. For this reason, it is important to ensure that all students are up to speed on historical events preceding New Imperialism.
Materials/Evidence/Sources:

  • Map of Africa

  • Political cartoon representing "Scramble for Africa"

  • Lecture notes


Instructional Sequence:

  1. After a short recap of the Industrial Revolution, explain to students that a need for resources and capital required countries to look overseas. Ask students how they think countries such as France and Great Britain would gain resources overseas. (5-7 minutes)

  2. Ask students to congregate in groups of 3 or 4. Pass out handout with blank map of Africa on the front. Explain that map represents Africa in the late 19th century. Instruct students to identify each blank section on the map however they see fit. Insist that they begin the activity without any further instructions. (7-10 minutes)

  3. Once students have completed their maps to the best of their ability, ask groups to share what they have identified each section as. Project map on the board and proceed to correctly fill in each section as the superpower with colonies in Africa. Ask students to volunteer which countries they believe to have territory in Africa. (5-7 minutes)

  4. Begin a short lecture on the early stages of New Imperialism, focusing on the motivations of European powers and where they chose to occupy. Pass out lecture notes (see Materials Used) to students so that they may follow along. (10-15 minutes)

  5. Display political cartoon (see Materials Used) and ask students to participate in an visual inquiry. Ask them questions such as "What do you see?" or "Who are the figures represented in the cartoon?" This is the final activity of the class session, and the questions asked will serve as an informal assessment of the students' understanding of information presented thus far. (7-10 minutes)


Assessment: Questions asked throughout the lesson will serve as an informal assessment of the students' understanding. This will include questions such as "why might European countries need to travel to Africa for resources?" and "name a European power that participated in New Imperialism", and will help me to gauge where I need to pause and explain a concept in more detail.


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