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This unit study includes lessons and printables based on the book Masai and I by Virginia Kroll.

When a little girl learns in school about a tall, proud African people called the Masai, she discovers a sense of kinship and imagines herself living in Africa. She would live in a circle of huts in a tiny village. Instead of having a hamster as a pet, she would live among the giraffes and zebras on the African plain.

from Masai and I at

This story offers your student so much to explore: African animals, African culture, vocabulary words, adjectives, point of view, clay, water sources, and more. Grab your free Masai and I unit study and lapbook and get started.

Thanks to Denise Gregson for writing the lessons for this literature based Masai and I unit study. Lapbook created by Kimberly Kaffenberger and Ami.

Masai and I Unit Study Lessons

Here are some sample lessons from the Masai and I Unit Study:

History: Ancestors
The little girl from whose perspective the story is written feels a certain kinship with the Masai people as she learns about their culture in school. She knows that her ancestors were from Africa. Ask your child, “If you were to feel a tingle of kinship with a group of people who would it be with?” This could lead to a discussion about where their ancestors are from.

Language Arts: Point of View
Ask your child who is telling the story? This story is told in the 1st person by the African-American girl holding the African artifact in the first illustration; she uses her imagination to consider what it would be like to grow up in Africa.

Science: African Animals
Animals mentioned in the book include: cattle, zebras, ostriches, giraffes. Determine which animals are unique to Africa. (zebras, giraffes, ostriches). Which are found in other parts of the world as well as Africa? (cattle, fireflies, bees).

Another animal shown in the illustrations is the guinea fowl. It’s in the “running and leaping” picture.

Encourage your student to learn more about giraffes or zebras and to choose one of the animal tab books to complete for the lapbook.

Your student may also want to research honeyguides. A mini-book is provided for your student to record what he or she learns.

You can grab a copy of the entire Masai and I Unit Study and Lapbook in an easy-to-print file at the end of this post.

Masai and I Lapbook Printables

In addition to the unit study lessons, the file also includes these mini-books for your student’s Masai and I lapbook:

  • Giraffes Tab Book
  • Zebras Tab Book
  • Compass Simple Fold
  • Ways We Use Water Petal Book
  • Counting in Swahili Folder & Cards
  • Point of View 3/4 Book
  • Adjectives Fan
  • My Book of New Words
  • Map of Africa
  • All About Masai Tab Book
  • African Village vs. United States City Venn Diagram
  • My Ancestors Mini-Book
  • Honeyguide Simple Fold
  • Flag of Tanzania Simple Fold
  • Flag of Kenya Simple Fold

How to Get Started with Your Masai and I Unit Study & Lapbook

Follow these simple instructions to get started with the Masai and I Unit Study:

  1. Buy a copy of the book, Masai and I, or borrow one from your local library.
  2. Print the Masai and I unit study.
  3. Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
  4. Choose and prepare the lapbook printables you want to use with your student.
  5. Enjoy a week of literature based learning.

Lapbook Sample

This sample lapbook was created with one file folder and one center extension. If you need more directions on how to make a lapbook, try this tutorial.

Get Your Masai and I Unit Study & Lapbook

Simply click on the image below to access your free Masai and I Unit Study and Lapbook.

Masai and I Unit Study & Lapbook

More Resources for Learning About Africa

Zebra Lapbook
Kenya Lapbook
Giraffe Lapbook