- List prior knowledge of Kwanzaa
- Listen to books about Kwanzaa
- Compare and contrast Kwanzaa to other celebrations
- Create a decorative mancala game
- My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah Newton Chocolate and illustrated by Cal Massey, or another illustrated book about Kwanzaa
- Chart paper and markers or interactive whiteboard
- Egg cartons, one per student plus extras
- Tempera paint or acrylic paint
- 50 small rocks or beans per student (red beans work well)
- Plastic zip baggies
- If you are unfamiliar with the Mancala game, read Alycia Zimmerman's blog post Mancala in the Classroom for game rules.
- Optional: Depending on the motor skills of your students, you may want to pre-cut the extra egg cartons. Each mancala board needs a "store" (or larger cup) at either end, so for each mancala board, cut two separate egg sections and staple one to either end of the full egg carton.
- Optional: If you plan to use an interactive whiteboard during class discussions, set it up prior to the lesson.
Step 1: As a group, list what the children already know about Kwanzaa on the chart paper or the interactive whiteboard.
Step 2: Read My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah Newton Chocolate and illustrated by Cal Massey, or another book about Kwanzaa, aloud to the class.
Step 3: Return to the chart paper or interactive whiteboard and list what the children learned about Kwanzaa.
Step 4: Compare and contrast Ramadan, Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.
Step 5: Make a decorative Mancala game by following these steps:
- Remove the lid from an egg carton.
- Cut two separate egg sections from another carton and staple one on each end of the complete carton.
- Paint the egg carton. Set aside to dry.
- Count out 48 small rocks or beans and store in the baggie.
Step 6: Teach children how to play the game.
Optional: Invite 10 older students to your classroom during a recess and teach them the game. Arrange with their teacher to have them visit your classroom for an hour in the afternoon to work with your students. Have one older student for every two of you students.
Step 7: As a group create a letter to parents explaining about Kwanzaa and the Mancala game.
As a class, write a final note to parents. Have the children say what they have learned about the fall and winter celebrations and about multiculturalism.
- How well do the children understand the similarities and differences between Ramadan, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas?
- Was the interactive whiteboard an effective tool for brainstorming?
- Should I do more with the geographical origin of these celebrations?
- What was the most difficult part of this unit? What was most successful?
- Teacher observation will assess student participation in listening to the book and contributing to the discussion.
- The teacher will also observe how well the children play the mancala game.