Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
Across the Centuries
What Your Child is Learning in Unit 3, "Sub-Saharan Africa"
In the next few weeks, your child will be learning about the development of empires in Africa, south of the Sahara. He or she will discuss the spread of Islam to West Africa and how trade affected different African empires. Your child will explore the lives and religions of a variety of African cultures, particularly the Bantu and Kongo, and understand some of the ways that people all over the world teach some similar values to their children.
Activities You Can Do at Home to Support Your Child's Learning
Chapter 5 West Africa
- This chapter discusses extended families and which family young people live with after they marry. Help your child make a list of relatives who live close enough for you to see once a week, once a month, and several times a year. Does one side of the family live closer than another? Does where your relatives live affect your decision about where you live? Discuss with your child.
- Today in our country, as in the African cultures your child will read about in Chapter 5, people use legends to pass on their history. These familiar stories may be passed from grandparents to grandchild. Others are learned in school, read in books, or shown on television and movies. With your child, take turns listing legends you each have learned and from where you learned it. Together, make up a new legend about your family.
Chapter 6 Central and Southern Africa
- Iron was very important to the Bantu. Have your child make a list of items in your home that are made of iron. Check those that are used every day.
- The following list shows what was expected of Bantu people at different ages: Early childhood -- obey mother; Late childhood -- help with chores; Young adult -- defend the community; Adult -- head household, raise family; Older adult -- assist rulers; Grandparent -- judge murder cases. Help your child make a list of the roles of different age groups in our culture. Discuss the similarities and differences to the Bantu list.
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