As summer draws near, invite your students to get ready to take a fantastic journey across the world to Africa — a land of wonder, beauty, and mathematical challenges!
Before students set off on their imaginary trip, show them a large map of the African continent and invite them to share what they know. Fire their imaginations by sharing that Africa is home to the world's largest desert, longest river, fastest mammal, and thickest tree. Point out the vast Sahara, the location of the pyramids in Egypt, Mount Kilimanjaro, the southern tip of the continent, and the long and mighty Nile. Then remind students that Africa isn't all about wild animals and nature — there are schools, buses, and even tall buildings there, just as in America.
Next, share the Off to Africa Reproducible
, below, and have individuals or pairs work to solve the word problems as they travel around the continent. Have students go online to find out more about Africa and its diverse peoples, animals, and terrain.
Pack Your Bags
If kids were heading off on a trip to Africa, what kinds of items would they pack? Ask small groups to brainstorm lists, which might include water, sunscreen, light clothes, walking shoes, money, and cameras. What would they need to make it across the fierce Sahara, with its scorching heat and lack of water, or down the magnificent Nile, with its thundering waterfalls? What animals would they see, and how would they find food? How would they travel, and how much weight could they carry?
Encourage students to think about the essential items they would need to bring as opposed to the unnecessary ones. Have them make a list, then estimate the cost and weight of the items. Share the lists with the class and have the students vote on the 10 essential items the class would — and should — be able to bring as a group.