Mali Empire

I can describe the Empire of Mali, including its history, rise, and decline.

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Mali Empire

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Students learn about the geography, growth, and way of life in the Mali Empire. The lesson teaches students about Sundiata Keita and Mansa Musa. It includes an informative video, graphic organizers, and a writing task.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to describe the Mali Empire and identify the rulers who helped to shape it.


Introduce ancient Mali and go through some questions with students to discuss their prior knowledge. Show students the map of the region and describe the geography of the Mali Empire, emphasizing the Niger River, Sahara, and Timbuktu.


Introduce Sundiata Keita and explain his role in the formation of the Mali Empire. Discuss the importance of trade and the Niger River. Next, go over the government of the empire and the significance of Islam. After this, teach students about Mansa Musa and his pilgrimage to Mecca. Watch the video to learn more about Mansa Musa and this journey. Have students take notes and discuss any newly learned information. Students will then learn about the city of Timbuktu and its importance as a trading center. Discuss the economy and culture then list some of the factors that contributed to the fall of the Mali Empire in the graphic organizer.


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


Students will imagine that they are joining Mansa Musa on his pilgrimage. They will write a journal entry detailing their experience.

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