Medieval Africa Mini-Unit

This is a Medieval Africa Unit Study. It includes a library list, crafts, activities, discussion questions, and web links that go along with Medieval Africa. We cover Mali, Ethiopia, the Swahili City-States, and Benin.

Medieval Africa Mini Unit Cover

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This mini-unit is taken directly from Unit 2.13 of the Layers of Learning Curriculum, that is, it is identical to the history section of that unit.

This mini-unit is a PDF which can be printed out or left digitally on your lap top or desk top (convenient for clicking on sidebar links). You can also read it on an iPad by e-mailing to yourself and opening it with the Open Office App or any other document reader.

The Medieval Africa Unit includes:

  • A map activity that shows the locations of the advanced civilizations in Africa
  • A timeline of medieval Africa
  • A craft to make mud cloth from Ghana
  • An exploration about west African griots and the Anasi Tales
  • An exploration to learn about and discuss trade across the Sahara
  • A salt mine craft
  • An exploration and art project about Mansa Musa
  • A Benin mask craft
  • A Swahili language exploration
  • A map and game about trade from the Swahili coast across the Indian Ocean
  • An exploration about Ethiopian rulers
  • An exploration on the Lalibela churches
  • And a Prester John map of Ethiopia to create
  • Plus lots of sidebars including On the Web, Famous Folks, Fabulous Facts, Additional Layers, Writer’s Workshop, and Teaching Tips.

Each of the activities and books has smiley faces that indicate what level of learner the activity is appropriate for. Yellow indicates approximately 1-4th grade, green is for 5th-8th grades, and blue is for high school kids.


This mini unit is intended to be a guide, not a you-must-complete-every-activity curriculum. You can pick and choose between books and activities that you would like to do.

In this, and all our units, we provide a list of books to search for at your library. None of the books are necessary to using the course. They can be replaced by others you can find at your library or off your shelves. The books add to the course and some outside reading will greatly improve learning quality for your kids.

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