Debunking Stereotypes about Africa
3rd Grade Social Studies Unit

Cover of the children's book 'Africa is Not a Country'

By Becca Johnson

This two week unit explores the cultural stereotypes about the continent of Africa and provides a critical framework for students to explore the effects of stereotypes on individuals and groups. I was inspired to write this unit for two reasons:

1. Before I traveled to Africa, I held cultural stereotypes about the continent as a whole and was astonished at the diversity I found within the single country of Ghana! Africa is rich with different cultures, land, values, foods, and more from 53 different countries.

2. I read a Teaching Tolerance article by Brenda Randolph titled, "
I Didn't Know There Were Cities in Africa", which highlights the common stereotypes children hold about Africa... safari, jungles, lions, elephants, and giraffes.

My essential questions for this unit were...
      What assumptions/stereotypes exist about the continent of Africa?
      What drives these stereotypes? How accurate are these stereotypes?
      How do these stereotypes affect our understanding of people, cultures, practices,
              countries, history, and politics in Africa?

      How can we debunk these assumptions?