Village Society In
West Africa
with a focus on
Religion and Politics
World History Institute Lesson Plan
Summer 2008
By: Wilma Romasoc
California content standard addressed
7.4 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic,
religious, and social structure of the sub-Saharan
civilizations of Ghana and Mali in Medieval Africa
- Analyze the importance of family, labor specialization and
regional commerce in the development of states and cities in
West Africa. (through vocabulary study.)
Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills
-Students understand and distinguish relevant from irrelevant
information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable
from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories.
General Objective:
Identify and describe what aspects of religion affected
West African Society and how kinship affected the village
Student Objectives:
By the end of this lesson:
You will define vocabulary terms in small groups.
You will sort words into categories.
You will identify and explain the influences religion had on Western
African village life.
You will describe the role of Kinship and its effects on village
government in Western Africa.
You will write two paragraphs answering the essential questions.
You will write a thesis statement at the end of the lesson
Lesson Plan Details
Estimated length of lesson: 90 minutes or 2 45-minute periods
Houghton Mifflin “Across the Centuries” Textbook
(Chapter 5, Lesson 4, pg 125-127) copy provided
Folder that contains 2 separate envelopes for each set
of vocabulary (envelope 1=vocabulary words and
envelope 2= additional vocabulary words)
Dictionary and Textbook Glossary
1. Hand out vocabulary worksheet
2. Divide class into small groups of 4
3. Hand out the folder; have one member of the group open envelope #1
containing the first set of vocabulary words
4. Have each member define terms in its historical context
5. Sort words into categories and justify these categories
6. Repeat steps 3-5 using the envelope labeled #2
7. As a class, provide definitions and list other word forms (i.e inherit, inheritance)
8. Read text containing vocabulary pg 125-127
9. Have the students read the two essential questions
10. Have the students use all vocabulary terms from envelopes #1 and #2 to
answer these questions
11. Have students present their responses as teacher writes them on the board
12. Have each student write a thesis statement focused on the effect of family
ties on religious and political views in the West African Village Society
Envelope #1 Vocabulary List
Ancestor worship
Bilateral System
Nuclear Family
Extended Family
Social Pressure
Envelope #2 Vocabulary List
Villager’s Survival
Determines position
Curb bad behavior
As a result of
In response to
Essential Questions
Directions: Use the words in envelopes #1 & #2 to
write 2 paragraphs answering the following essential
1)How did kinship affect the village government in
West Africa?
2) What aspects of religion influenced the village
society of West Africa?
Write a sentence for each of the following
vocabulary words related to the context of the
1. Kinship
2. Diviner
3. Ancestor Worship
4. Clan
5. Matrilineal
6. Social Pressure
7. Bilateral System
8. Nuclear Family
9. Extended Family
10. Rituals
Other forms of assessment
Teacher observation of student’s
participation and responses
Performance assessment-have students
create sketches of 5 vocabulary words
and write a caption explaining the
meaning of the words

7.4 - Village Society in West Africa