Individuals and Societies

Social Science TEACHERS

Ancient Africa: Gold and Salt Trade

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For the 2nd Quarter, the class has been learning about Ancient African Empires. We focused on Ghana and discovered how salt was very much valued. In fact, Africans even traded gold for it! One activity the students did was to perform a salt preservation experiment. Using apple slices, they submerged them into different solutions using lemon, vinegar, and salt. The control variable was an untreated apple slice. After about four days, the students were pleased to see that the slice treated with salt solution was the most preserved. Here are my kids’ experiment:



They also watched a Teded video on how ancient Egyptians used various alkaline salts to preserve mummies. They agreed that salt is indeed important!

We also did a simulation of the ancient gold and salt trading that occurred in Western Africa. The students were divided into groups, namely Wangarans, North Africans, and Soninkes. Then, they had to do ‘silent trading’ with the help of the Soninkes. The objective was to collect as many pairs of salt and gold as possible despite the obstacles set-up in the classroom to imitate the African geographical landscape.


Here are the kids hurdling the obstacles!

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