Skywatchers of Africa

For thousands of years, Africans have used their knowledge of the sky to build their societies, shape their spiritual lives, and meet their physical needs for survival. Skywatchers of Africa highlights the diversity of African astronomy, examines cultural uses of the sky that developed throughout history, and celebrates our shared human experience.

Skywatchers of Africa is an original production by the Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL) and was adapted for fulldome by the Sudekum Planetarium at Adventure Science Center.

Skywatchers of Africa makes full use of Sudekum Planetarium's blend of technology - fulldome video and effects from the Evans & Sutherland Digistar 3 system, and beautiful stars provided by our GOTO Chiron Hybrid star projector. These two systems work together seamlessly to present a show you won't see anywhere else!

Skywatchers of Africa is recommended for ages 4 and up.

Skywatchers of Africa is currently available for school groups. To book a group reservation, call (615) 862-5177 at least two weeks in advance.

For More Information

Skywatchers of Africa is recommended for Grades 5 and up.

TN State Science Standards

Grade Level Expectations (GLE)

5th Grade

Science

Standard 6: The Universe
  • GLE 0507.6.2: Recognize that charts can be used to locate and identify star patterns.

Social Studies

Content Standard 1.0 Culture encompasses similarities and differences among people including their beliefs, knowledge, changes, values, and traditions. Students will explore these elements of society to develop an appreciation and respect for the variety of human cultures.

Learning Expectations:

  • 1.01 Understand the diversity of human cultures.
  • 1.02 Discuss cultures and human patterns of places and regions of the world.
  • 1.03 Recognize the contributions of individuals and people of various ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic groups to the development of civilizations.
  • 3.02 Recognize the interaction between human and physical systems around the world.

Geography

Content Standard 3.0 Geography enables the students to see, understand and appreciate the web of relationships between people, places, and environments. Students will use the knowledge, skills, and understanding of concepts within the six essential elements of geography: world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society, and the uses of geography.

Learning Expectations:

  • 3.01 Understand how to use maps, globes, and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process and report information from a spatial perspective.
  • 3.02 Recognize the interaction between human and physical systems around the world.
  • 3.03 Demonstrate how to identify and locate major physical and political features on globes and maps.

6th Grade

Social Studies

Content Standard 1.0 Culture encompasses similarities and differences among people including their beliefs, knowledge, changes, values, and traditions. Students will explore these elements of society to develop an appreciation and respect for the variety of human cultures.

Learning Expectations:

  • 1.01 Understand the nature and complexity of culture.
  • 1.02 Recognize the role of major religions.
  • 1.03 Appreciate the relationship between physical environments and culture.
  • 1.04 Recognize how cultural and individual perceptions affect places and regions.
  • 1.05 Understand the role that diverse cultures and historical experiences had on the development of the world.
  • 1.06 Understand the influence of science and technology on the development of culture through time.

Geography

Content Standard 3.0 Geography enables the students to see, understand and appreciate the web of relationships among people, places, and environments. Students will use the knowledge, skills, and understanding of concepts within the six essential elements of geography: world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society, and the uses of geography.

Learning Expectations:

  • 3.01 Understand the characteristics and uses of maps.
  • 3.02 Know the location of places and geographic features, both physical and human.
  • 3.03 Understand the characteristics and uses of spatial organization of Earth’s surface.
  • 3.04 Understand the physical and human characteristics of place.

7th Grade

Social Studies

Content Standard 1.0 Culture encompasses similarities and differences among people including their beliefs, knowledge, changes, values, and traditions. Students will explore these elements of society to develop an appreciation and respect for the variety of human cultures.

Learning Expectations:

  • 1.01 Understand the nature and complexity of culture.
  • 1.04 Describe the influence of science and technology on the development of culture through time.

Content Standard: 3.0 Geography enables the students to see, understand and appreciate the web of relationships between people, places, and environments. Students will use the knowledge, skills, and understanding of concepts within the six essential elements of geography: world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society, and the uses of geography.

Learning Expectations:

  • 3.01 Understand the characteristics and uses of maps, globes, and other geographic tools and technologies.
  • 3.02 Know the location of places and geographic features, both physical and human, locally, regionally and globally.
  • 3.03 Understand the characteristics and uses of spatial organization of Earth’s surface.
  • 3.04 Understand the physical and human characteristics of place.
  • 3.05 Understand that common physical and cultural characteristics create regions.
  • 3.06 Understand how physical processes shape the Earth’s natural landscapes and affect environments.
  • 3.07 Understand how physical systems and the physical environment affect human systems.
  • 3.08 Understand how human activities impact and modify the physical environment.

High School Earth Science

  • CLE 3204.1.1: Explore theories for the origin and evolution of the universe.

High School Conceptual Physics / Physics Embedded Inquiry

  • CLE 3237.Inq.1 / CLE 3231.Inq.1 Recognize that science is a progressive endeavor that reevaluates and extends what is already accepted.

High School Environmental Science / Water and Land Resources

  • CLE 3260.4.4 Evaluate the impact of human activities on natural resources.

World Geography: 9-12

Course Description: In World Geography High School, students study people, places, and environments at local, regional, national, and international levels from the spatial and ecological perspectives of geography. The six social studies standards of essential content knowledge and four process skills are integrated for instructional purposes.

Standard Number: 1.0 Culture Culture encompasses similarities and differences among people, including their beliefs, knowledge, changes, values, and tradition. Students will explore these elements of society to develop an appreciation of and respect for the variety of human cultures.

Learning Expectations: The student will:

  • 1.1 understand the complex nature of culture and how cultures influence the characteristics of places and regions.
  • 1.2 understand the relationship between physical environments and culture.
  • 1.3 understand how cultural perspective impacts perceptions of places and regions.

Objectives

  1. Name one significant star pattern used in several African cultures and why it was important.
  2. Recount the Egyptian explanation for day and night
  3. Understand how the North Star allows navigation at night.

Pre-Visit Activities

  1. Locate Egypt and the River Nile on a map or globe. What other countries are nearby? Compare the size of Egypt to the land area of the United States.
  2. Have students investigate the size and extent of the Sahara desert. Research how the size of the desert has changed over time.
  3. Compare and contrast living in or near a desert as in Northern Africa compared to Tennessee. Are there deserts in the United States? Identify other deserts around the world.

Post-Visit Activities

  1. Download the monthly star chart from our website www.SudekumPlanetarium.com. Encourage students to locate the constellations and any planets visible in the evening sky. Are Orion or the Big Dipper visible in the evening sky? The stars seen from Egypt are the same seen from Middle Tennessee.
  2. Have students investigate other cultures’ constellations and interpretation of the stars of Orion and the Big Dipper.
  3. Have students explore the history of trade across the desert: how long did caravans cross the desert? What important goods were transported this way?
  4. Have students investigate the history of calendars.
  5. The Sahara desert has changed over time. How has it changed, and how has this changed the peoples who live in and around the desert?

Vocabulary

  • Al-Hirab, the ship’s keel
  • Amma
  • axis
  • burial chamber
  • Big Dipper
  • cardinal points
  • civilization
  • Dogon
  • foreleg of the Ox
  • granery
  • Great Pyramid
  • Isis
  • “Imperishables”
  • Indian Ocean
  • Islam
  • Khufu
  • Madagascar
  • monsoons
  • Morning star
  • Mother Camel
  • Nabta
  • Namoratunga
  • Nile
  • North Star
  • Nut
  • Orbit
  • Orion
  • Orion’s belt
  • Osiris
  • Pharaoh
  • Pleiades
  • Polaris
  • resurrection
  • Sahara Desert
  • seasonal
  • Seth
  • Sirius
  • Summer solstice
  • Swaziland
  • Tally stick
  • Talmit
  • Tuareg
  • Umbilical cord
  • Venus
  • Yoruba