E. Napp Objective: To create an outline for a thematic essay and to write a thematic essay on the West African Kingdoms



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To Write the Thematic Essay – The West African Kingdoms

E. Napp

Objective: To create an outline for a thematic essay and to write a thematic essay on the West African Kingdoms

Do Now: What are two benefits of creating an outline before writing? ______________________________________________________________________________


A Practice Thematic Essay

Theme: Kingdoms

Task: Three powerful kingdoms emerged in West Africa as a result of their control of a vital trade, the Trans-Saharan or salt for gold trade. In this essay, students will examine each kingdom and its important characteristics.

  • Describe significant characteristics of the West African kingdom of Ghana.

  • Discuss the rise and fall of the West African kingdom of Mali as well as the reign of Mansa Musa.

  • Describe significant characteristics of the West African kingdom of Songhai.


Suggestion: Think trade and diffusion.



Analyzing the Directions So That You Think About Something to Write About:

  • What is the essay’s theme?

________________________________________________________________________

  • What was Trans-Saharan trade? ________________________________________________________________________

  • What is the first question students must address in the essay? ________________________________________________________________________

  • What is the second question students must address in the essay? ________________________________________________________________________

  • What is the third question students must address in the essay? ________________________________________________________________________

  • What is the suggested advice for the essay? ________________________________________________________________________

  • Prior Knowledge: What desert separates Africa into two parts? ________________________________________________________________________

  • Prior Knowledge: Why did trade develop between North and West Africa? ________________________________________________________________________

  • Prior Knowledge: What religion spread along the Trans-Saharan trade routes? ________________________________________________________________________

  • Prior Knowledge: Who was Mansa Musa and what famous journey did he make? ________________________________________________________________________

Unlike a DBQ essay, a thematic essay does not have documents to help the test taker. As such, the test taker must have information from the class to help answer the question. The thematic essay reminds learners that some information must be memorized in order to excel on an examination. Of course, the best way to memorize information is to practice.



Of course, as the Taoists say, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So, let’s take that step and outline the essay before writing.


Since writing a thematic essay may be a new experience, let’s take a small step towards understanding what this essay question is asking. See if you can complete the following sentences below using the Word Bank:


Word Bank:

Trans-Saharan Ghana Mansa Sub-Saharan Mali
Islam Songhai Sahara Guns Timbuktu Peace
Camel Pilgrimage Gold Ibn Nomads North




  • The _________ desert divides Africa into two parts.

  • __________________ Africa is the region to the south of the Sahara desert.

  • North African __________ crossed the desert to trade in West Africa.

  • The __________ was the animal that made travel across the desert possible.

  • The kingdom of ___________ was the first great West African trading kingdom

  • The West African kingdom of Ghana was called the “land of _______” even though it only taxed the traders involved in the trade.

  • The West African kingdom of Ghana was able to maintain __________ because it had an army of 200,000 soldiers.

  • Invaders from the _______ attacked the West African kingdom of Ghana.

  • The West African kingdom of _______ rose to power after the collapse of Ghana.

  • __________ Musa was the most significant king of the West African kingdom of Mali.

  • Mansa Musa took a famous ____________ to Mecca.

  • ___________ was a great center of learning in Mali.

  • The religion of _______________ spread to West Africa through cultural diffusion.

  • ____ Battuta, a famous traveler, visited the West African kingdom of Mali

  • The West African kingdom of ____________ rose to power after Mali.

  • Like Ghana and Mali, Songhai controlled the _______________ trade.

  • Moroccans with _______ attacked the West African kingdom of Songhai.

Now that we have an understanding of the theme and the task, let’s complete the outline below for our essay:


The West African Kingdoms

  • Describe significant characteristics of the West African kingdom of Ghana.



  • Discuss the rise and fall of the West African kingdom of Mali as well as the reign of Mansa Musa.




  • Describe significant characteristics of the West African kingdom of Songhai.




An outline provides a map for the writing of the essay. In the space below, write the essay:
The Essay:

Introduction:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Paragraph #1:

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Paragraph #2:

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Paragraph 3:

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Conclusion:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



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