Box #1: Culture in Migration

Teaching Units & Lesson Plans

Arts: Culture and the Arts (Stories, Art, Music)


Students will explore the connection between the stories we tell and our culture. Students will explore the idea that stories are often constructed to express important lessons or values in various cultures. Students will explore that many of the stories we share and the characters involved originated in West Africa and migrated with the people from this region who were forced into slavery. Students will explore ways that their personal culture has been or can be transmitted through art, music and stories.

Michigan Standards

II.3:Location, Movement, and Connections

All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of economic activities, trade, political activities, migration, information flow, and the interrelationships among them. Locations are connected by different transportation and communication networks that channel the movement of people, goods, and information. Location of places along the networks is important in analyzing why some places are different in size and complexity from other places, what connections have developed, why movement occurs, and the consequences of different types of movement

Geographic Perspective

II.1:Diversity of People, Places, and Cultures

All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of places, cultures, and settlements. The mosaic of people, places, and cultures expresses the rich variety of the earth. Natural and human characteristics meld to form expressions of cultural uniqueness, as well as similarities among peoples. Culture is the way of life of a group of people including language, religion, traditions, family structure, institutions, and economic activities.


V.1:Information Processing

All students will acquire information from books, maps, newspapers, data sets, and other sources, organize and present the information in maps,

English Language Arts


All students will read and analyze a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature and other texts to seek information, ideas, enjoyment, and understanding of their individuality, our common heritage and common humanity, and the rich diversity of our society. One of the important ways we learn to use language effectively is through our close reading of a wide range of well-constructed texts used for a variety of purposes. The reading of both fiction and non-fiction high-quality literature allows us to experience and learn things that we might not experience in our daily lives; reading helps us to understand the actions, thoughts, and feelings of others who may or may not be like us. Exploring texts that our ancestors felt important, as well as texts that represent other cultures and other times, helps to increase our understanding of ourselves, our communities, and our world.

Time: 45-60 min.


  • My Culture and the Arts” work page
  • Jekker Ju Amulub Leget: Maam Daawur Wadd
  • Jabu Ndaw by : Maam Daawur Wadd
  • La belle Histoire de Leuk Le lievre: Cours Elementaire des ecdes d’ Afrique Noire By L. Senghor and A.Sadji
  • Little Red Riding Hood

*indicates materials not included in the artifact box


  1. Show the covers and a few pages of the books being used. Ask students - -
    • What do you think is the background of the author?
    • What do you think this story is about?
    • What do you think these stories could have in common?
    • Is it a happy/sad/angry story?
  2. Show students where Senegal is located on the map of Africa if they have not yet seen it.
  3. Discuss how all of these stories the historical connection.
  4. Tell students that all of these stories are folktales and folktales are usually stories that teach some kind of lesson. Ask students about folktales that they can remember or lessons that they learned like in the story “The little boy who cried wolf”
  5. Explain that these stories are connected by the forced migration or displacement of a large group of African people to North America through slavery.
  6. In slavery, many tragedies were inflicted up African peoples but their culture could not be stolen and still lives in many different ways.
  7. One such connection is of these stories Jabu Ndaw and Jekker Ju Amulub Leget are folktales used to teach children and adults lessons about life just as in our childhoods.
  8. La belle Histoire de Leuk Le lievre: Cours Elementaire des ecdes d’ Afrique Noire and Little Red Riding Hood involve a character that originated in the Senegambia region and plays a similar role in European tales told in the U.S. This character is “Buki” the fool hyena similar to the fool wolf in Little Red Riding hood.
  9. After this discussion and the reading of Little Red Riding Hood, have students complete the “Stories, Art, Music, and My culture” page.