The unit entitled ”African Myths and What They Teach” is written specifically for students in grade three and can be extended down to grade two or up to grades four and five. It could be easily connected to a social studies unit on Africa that would be a part of the third grade curriculum on Communities.
Ultimately I hope that this unit will introduce my students to some new and exciting literature. African mythology is a logical area for study in my classroom since at least half of my classroom is African American and others in the class share partial ties to that heritage. While this is not the only justification for selecting this material, I hope that it will instill interest and connection with many of my students.
At first I had hoped that many of the stories would be available in children’s books; however, most are in collections and probably the teacher will have to duplicate the myths and/or rewrite some to suit his/her needs. I assume that in using the unit most teachers will be introducing and reading the stories for the children.
The bibliography lists a number of sources for myths and related stories, but again individual teachers will need to peruse what is available and choose what is right for their students. I have limited my mention of individual myths to three or four of each type which I felt were unique and most representative of what is in the literature. Most of the stories are very short and my unit in no way precludes the reading of more myths. As a matter of fact, as one reads more of the stories it is hard not to want to add just one more to the reading list.
The Unit will follow the outline given below. There is a lot of room for individual teachers to expand or contract the size and scope of the unit, depending on the level of the class and the amount of time available.
Where is Africa?
What are the geographical conditions like in Africa?
What is a myth?
How do folk tales, and fables relate to mythology?
Some main types of myths
Creation and Death
Humans and Animals
Lesson Plans: What are some integrated activities for this unit?