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FC: Songhai


4 lessons that answer the standards as well as the framing and supporting questions.

Grade: 5th Grade

Weeks: 1

Pages: 46

Standards: 5.1 - 5.7, 5.11, 5.11a, 5.11b, 5.11c, 5.11d

File Type: pdf

Slide Deck Included: Yes

In stock

Product SKU: PEDFC523


The Songhai Empire (also transliterated as Songhay) was a state that dominated the western Sahel in the 15th and 16th centuries. At its peak, it was one of the largest states in African history. The state is known by its historiographical name, derived from its leading ethnic group and ruling elite, the Songhai. Sonni Ali established Gao as the capital of the empire, although a Songhai state had existed in and around Gao since the 11th century. Other important cities in the empire were Timbuktu and Djenné, conquered in 1468 and 1475, respectively, where urban-centered trade flourished. Initially, the empire was ruled by the Sonni dynasty (c. 1464–1493), but it was later replaced by the Askiya dynasty (1493–1591).

4 lessons that answer the standards as well as the framing and supporting questions

Lessons are developed using all the sources and readings that are in the social studies course frameworks provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.

What does it include?

  1. Detailed lesson plans aligned with the standards and frameworks
  2. Activities that include all the materials provided in the frameworks
  3. Assessments aligned with the new LDOE field test
  4. Lesson activity workbook/worksheets
  5. Slide deck


  • 5.11 Describe the geographic, political, economic, and cultural structures of Medieval West African Kingdoms.
  • 5.11a Identify and locate the geographic features of West Africa, including the Atlantic Ocean, Niger River, Djenne, the Sahara, Gulf of Guinea, and Timbuktu.
  • 5.11b Describe the growth of the kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai, including cities such as Djenne and Timbuktu as centers of trade, culture, and learning.
  • 5.11c Describe the role of the Trans-Saharan caravan trade in the changing religious and cultural characteristics of West Africa and in the exchange of salt, gold, and enslaved people.

Framing Question

What were the major accomplishments of the Songhai Empire?

Supporting Questions

  1. What were the major accomplishments of Sonni Ali?
  2. Why were the travels of Ibn Battuta so extraordinary for the time in which he lived?
  3. How did Timbuktu contribute to the Songhai empire’s economy and culture?
  4. How did environmental changes affect the Songhai Empire?



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