What factors have shaped Nigeria’s complex history, and what will be the country’s path forward?
First edition. June 2017.
PREVIEW THIS UNIT. The preview includes the table of contents, a student reading excerpt, and one lesson plan. PREVIEW ALL UNITS. Additional unit descriptions for the Current Issues Series that summarize the historical context, student readings, and skill development are available on this MIRO BOARD.

Nigeria: History, Identity, and Change invites students to explore the history of Africa’s most populous country, the largest Black country in the world, and an important global actor. In this unit, students read about the country’s history, from the precolonial era to the present, and are exposed to numerous themes and concepts, such as colonialism, nationalism and national identity, independence, military dictatorships, activism, democracy, and many others. The unit is divided into four parts. Each part includes:

  • Student readings
  • Accompanying study guides, graphic organizers, and key terms
  • Lessons aligned with the readings that develop analytical skills (including at least one that focuses on building geographic literacy) and can be completed in one or more periods
  • Videos that feature leading experts

This unit also includes an Options Role Play as the key lesson and additional synthesis lessons that allow students to synthesize new knowledge for assessment. You do not need to use the entire unit; feel free to select what suits your classroom needs.

“The focus on having students clarify their own values regarding historical, national, and global issues is like nothing else I’ve seen before. Students find the materials engaging and I know I won’t go wrong with using the Choices Program.” – Mischell, History and Geography Teacher, Alaska

Part I: Precolonial Nigeria

Part I focuses on the precolonial era and lays the groundwork for understanding how regional differences influenced Nigerian history. There are two lessons aligned with Part I: 1) The Geography of Nigeria, and 2) Artifacts as Primary Sources.

Part II: Colonization and Independence

Part II examines the disruptions caused by colonialism and Nigerians’ responses to it. There is one lesson aligned with Part II: The Women’s War: Feminist, Anticolonial Resistance.

Part III: An Independent Nigeria

Part III reviews the aftermath of the Nigerian Civil War and the period of military dictatorship. There is one lesson aligned with Part III: Cultural Responses to Dictatorship.

Part IV: Democracy in Nigeria

Part IV explores how Nigerians have worked to reclaim their democracy after the end of military rule. There is one lesson aligned with Part IV: Media Coverage: The Niger Delta Conflict.


The Geography of Nigeria

Students familiarize themselves with Nigeria and its neighbors, significant cities, and landmarks on a map. They then work together to explore images of Nigeria and identify issues and themes for inquiry.

Artifacts as Primary Sources

Students examine artifacts from precolonial Nigeria to explore the differences between various societies and to consider how historians can use artifacts to learn more about history.

The Women's War: Feminist Resistance

Students analyze primary source documents representing a variety of perspectives to better understand the Women's War and discuss the process of crafting historical narratives.

The Options Role Play

The Options Role Play is the key lesson in the unit. Students examine three distinct options that Nigerians faced in 1966. By exploring this spectrum of alternatives, students gain a deeper understanding of the values and beliefs that were contested at this important turning point in Nigerian history.

Cultural Responses to Dictatorship

To understand social and political factors that contributed to resistance to military dictatorships, students analyze artistic and cultural sources, including poetry, excerpts from novels and memoirs, song lyrics, and political cartoons.

Media Coverage: The Niger Delta Conflict

Students interpret data about the media coverage of the conflict in the Niger Delta and draw conclusions about the implications of the media coverage of this conflict.

Assessment Using Documents

Synthesis Lesson: Students analyze primary and secondary sources in order to answer questions about the Nigerian Civil War and historical debates about characterizing the war as a genocide.

Nigerian Historical Fiction

Synthesis Lesson: Drawing from examples of Nigeria's rich literary tradition, students analyze excerpts of works of historical fiction, present dramatic readings to the class, and discuss using fiction as a source for historical learning.

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