Activities to Teach Students About the Origins and Development of the Mali Empire

The Mali Empire was one of the greatest African empires that existed between the 13th and 17th centuries. It was an influential empire that controlled trade and commerce in West Africa. As a teacher, explaining the origins and development of the Mali Empire to your students can be a challenging task. However, incorporating interesting and engaging activities into the curriculum can make the learning experience much more enjoyable for students.

Activity 1: Create a timeline

Creating a timeline is an excellent activity to help students understand the development of the Mali Empire. Ask students to research the significant events in the empire’s history and create a timeline highlighting the key dates and accomplishments. This will help students visualize and understand the growth and development of the empire over time.

Activity 2: Trading game

As mentioned, the Mali Empire was a significant player in the trade and commerce industry during its time. Organize a trading game where students can role-play merchants and traders. Students can trade goods like salt, gold, and textiles and learn about the trade routes that linked Mali with other African and global powers. This activity will help students grasp the idea of trading and the influence that such commercial exchanges had in shaping the Mali Empire.

Activity 3: Art and architecture

The Mali Empire was famous for its elaborate art and architecture. Ask students to research and recreate the art and architecture of the Mali Empire, such as the Great Mosque of Djenne or the intricate terracotta sculptures. This activity will encourage students to learn more about the culture, religion, and identity of the people that influenced the empire.

Activity 4: Oral presentations

Divide students into groups and assign each group a significant figure or event in the Mali Empire’s history. Instruct each group to create an oral presentation with visual aids to present in class. This will help students practice their research and presentation skills while also educating their peers about the history of the Mali Empire.

Activity 5: Compare and contrast

Encourage students to compare and contrast the Mali Empire with other contemporary empires. Students can analyze the differences and similarities in culture, trade, religion, and politics of the Mali Empire with the Songhai Empire or the Ghana Empire. This activity will help students understand how different African empires evolved and interacted with each other.

In conclusion, teaching students about the origins and development of the Mali Empire does not have to be a daunting task. Incorporating engaging activities such as those listed above will help make the learning experience enjoyable and informative. By the end of the lesson, students should have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Mali Empire and its contribution to African history.

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