The exhibit, Threads of Change: the Transformation of West African Textiles, was visited by many classrooms to augment the study of West Africa for elementary, middle, and high school students during 2009. Teachers used the exhibit to develop classroom study in various subject matter on the countries involved.

The curriculum resources provided here includes materials and sample lesson plans for the classroom teacher to use in developing lessons designed for the desired grade levels. Using real artifacts (fabrics, maps, photos) can help students make personal connections in their study of West Africa. The subjects are:

Social Studies Curriculum – For middle and high school level

The Exploring Africa!Curriculum, developed by Michigan State University, are a series of units, modules, and learning activities addressing major topics and themes in the study of Africa.

These modules follow the "5 E's" format: Engage, Explore, Explain, Expand, Evaluate. Also included are teacher background notes and guidelines designed to aid teachers in the most effective use of the learning and teaching activities.

• Mali as a Case Study for Teaching Africa in Compliance with Michigan Social Studies Standards and Benchmarks

Using Technology to Teach about Mali --For grades 2 - 5

This unit of study is designed for technology lessons for grades 2-5, connecting the five themes of geography with the study of Mali and West Africa.

The themes include: Location, Place, Movement, Human/Environment Interaction and Regions. Supporting websites, books and activities including a student-developed power point are suggested in this section. [

Art and Technology Project: Making Mud Cloth, Learning about Mali

This section includes a sample lesson for integrating the making of mud cloth with the study of Mali and the students’ country of origin. The fifth grade students write text, draw mud cloth symbols for PowerPoint slides and finally make mud cloth on canvas in art class. The students practice detailed mud cloth techniques in the paint program to prepare for actual painting in art class.

Art Class – Teaching West African Textiles

Content Standards for teaching art of West Africa

Bogolan Painting – lesson plan
Students will gain an understanding of bogolan (mud cloth) of Mali and will explore the textile’s role in Mali’s culture. Students will explore using symbols, compare traditional and contemporary bogolanfini, and gain perception of Mali’s geographic position in comparison to the United States..

Bogolan Symbols

These patterns are from Nakunte Diarra Bògòlanfini Artist of the Beledougou by Tavy D. Aherne. Nakunte Diarra is a traditional artist featured in the exhibit. These are symbols from cloths made by her. These sheets may be used for educational purposes for the activities suggested above.

More Resources for Teachers (see Africa)

International Children's Digital Library: