Ghana Empire

I can describe the Empire of Ghana, including its development, rise, and decline

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Ghana Empire

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In this lesson, students learn how the development of the Ghana Empire was influenced by trade with different regions and how trade was carried out. Ghana’s beginnings and early history are discussed, in addition to trade in valuable goods, the growth of trade, taxes, the importance of salt and gold, and expansion. Students will also explore the factors that led to the decline of the Ghana Empire.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to analyze the culture, geography, rise, and fall of the Ghana Empire.


Introduce the Ghana Empire, then have students engage in a discussion using the questions presented on the board. After this, discuss the geography of West Africa using the image of the map. Have students drag the pin to locate the Sahara Desert and the Niger River.


Discuss the formation of the Ghana Empire and explain how they began as farmers coming together against outside threats. From here, the empire grew. Teach students about the importance of trade in this empire, including the silent barter of gold and salt. Explain how these trades were carried out. Check student understanding with some discussion questions. You may choose to have students work in partners or groups to respond.

From here, describe the continued growth of the empire as a trading center and the taxes that were imposed. Students also learn about the influence of Islam in West Africa. Describe the rule of Tunka Manin and his army who conquered other territories, further expanding Ghana’s empire. After this, watch the video and have students take note of any new information learned. Introduce the factors that may have led to the fall of Ghana and have students work on the graphic organizers.


Check student understanding with ten multiple-choice, fill-in, and true or false questions.


Students will be asked to imagine they are living in Ghana under Tunka Manin. They will describe what they believe a day in their life would be like and what types of emotions they may have been feeling.

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