Math in Ancient Africa (with discussion questions and activities)


As I shared in an earlier post, I’ve been devoting more time to tutoring Math for students of all ages.  This has been an exciting experience – helping children to increase their interest in Mathematics and improve their performance.  It’s very rewarding to witness the growth of their critical thinking skills.

However, I recognize that many of our youth still think that other ethnicities are naturally more gifted in Math than them.  This is partially due to a lack of knowledge about the history of Math.  Take time this semester to share the African history of Mathematics with your children.  Here is a great article to assist:


Image result for african stonehenge

Have a discussion after reading the list of facts.  Here are some sample discussion questions and activities that you can utilize:

  1. What are some of the math games that were created in Ancient Africa?  (i.e. Mancala; You can use technology to find the answer.)
  2. Are there any math tools that you know of today that are similar to the Lebombo bone?
  3. Why would sheep herders need to recognize their herd by face?
  4. Why would trackers hunting animals need to know if the animal was hungry or not?
  5. What are cowrie shells?  Can you find a picture of them online?
  6. Can you find ten examples of symmetry in African patterns online?
  7. Can you list the skills one would need to design and build their own house?
  8. Look up edible plants in your area together and then go on a nature walk to identify some.
  9. Build a replica of African Stonehenge using cardboard and rocks and test it in the sunlight to see how the shadows are cast at certain points throughout the day.
  10. Search images of different types of African cloth (i.e. Kente) and create a game matching cloths to their countries.


Do you have other ideas for discussion questions or activities?  Please share!  Thank you for reading and enjoy your week.

All Best,

Nikala Asante



Nikala Asante is a mother, college student, martial artist, yoga lover, poet, painter, and vegan who enjoys sunlight, Africana studies, and working with children.


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