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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Weather and Water in Ghana

Water in Africa

Africa, Ghana
Grades 3-5, Grades K-2
Arts & Music, Language Arts & Literature, Social Studies & Geography

This lesson uses the dramatic contrast between the rainy and dry seasons in west Africa to help students learn about weather. Students will define weather, examine its features, define their area's weather, and apply this knowledge to their study of the ways weather affects people and the environment.


Students will

  • Identify the meaning of weather.
  • Describe the weather in their region.
  • Define "drought" and list areas of drought in the United States.
  • Describe the weather in Ghana.
  • Demonstrate some effects of the dry and rainy seasons on people, plants, and animals.
  • Name at least one way they can conserve water in the United States, and propose one way that people in Ghana could do so.


  • Africa: One of the largest continents on Earth. It has 53 countries and is known for many things including large deserts and many animals.
  • Drought: A long period of time with little or no rain.
  • Rainy season: A time of year (usually several months) when it rains the most.
  • Culture: The different ways that people around the world live.


  • Water in Africa: Ghana Photo Gallery (find link above)
  • Stories from Ghana (See Water in Africa Theme Page)
  • Map of Ghana (find link above)
  • Map of Africa (find link above)
  • Information on your area's climate from a source such as U.S. Weather Service


  1. Ask students to describe the weather outside. Record their answers on the board. Explain that "weather" is the condition of the air at a certain time and place. Ask students how the weather is different in winter, spring, summer, and fall in their community.
  2. Tell students that they will be learning about weather and how it can make life easy or difficult for humans, other living things, and the land.
  3. Introduce Ghana using a world map. Have students make guesses about the nature of Ghana's weather. Tell the students that all but the southwest corner of Ghana is part of a region that has only two seasons, a rainy season and a dry season.
  4. Tell students they are going to go on a virtual tour of northeastern Ghana using:
  5. Read aloud stories from Ghana
    • "Daily Use of Water in Ghana"
    • "Narrative Stories from Ghana"
    • "Access to Water in Ghana"
  6. Place a large sheet of paper on one of the walls in your classroom with the heading "Ghana: What Would Your Life Be Like?" Have students each choose their own medium to work with and create a small picture, word, or poem to describe their feelings about what life would be like in Ghana. The students should be given as much creative freedom as possible.
  7. Have each student describe and explain his or her individual part of the mural.



Frameworks & Standards

Essential Questions
  • How does weather affect living things?
  • How does where you live affect how you live?
  • Science Standards:
    • Standard F: Personal and Social Perspectives
  • Geography Standards:
    • Essential Element I: The World in Spatial Terms
    • Essential Element II: Places and Regions
    • Essential Element IV: Human Systems
    • Essential Element V: Environment and Society
  • Language Arts Standards:
    • Standard 2: Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
    • Standard 4: Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
    • Standard 9: Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions and social roles.
  • Visual Arts:
    • Standard 1: Understanding and applying media techniques, and processes.
    • Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines.



  • Install a simple rain gauge at your school and have the students record the amount of rain received in your area for a period of time. This can be compared to the amount of rain received in Ghana at the same time.
  • Have the students create a mock weather forecast for the country of Ghana. This can be presented as if students were weather anchors on a television show.
  • Study other African nations with rainy and dry seasons, such as Kenya, Mozambique, and Cape Verde. 
  • Study other African nations with rainy and dry seasons, such as Kenya, Mozambique, and Cape Verde. 
  • Find books in your library on droughts, rainy seasons, etc., which you can share with your class. One good example is The Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema, which details the dramatic effects of drought and the rainy season in Kenya.
  • Have students listen to some of the water-related podcasts on the World Wise Schools website:
  • Have students watch one of the narrated slide shows on the World Wise Schools website, such as Cynthia Chenault's “My Life in East Africa.”


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