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Ethiopia Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

In this lesson, we will learn about what it's like to live in ''tukuls'' and eat ''injera'' in Ethiopia, a country in the Horn of Africa. Let's take a look at the geography, climate, cultural heritage, government, symbols, and history of Ethiopia.

Life in Ethiopia

Imagine that every day you walked to school and filed into a classroom with 50 other students. The classroom had dirt floors and open windows to let in a slight breeze in the 90 degree heat. For many children in Ethiopia, this is their daily experience. Let's imagine that we have taken a trip about halfway across the globe, to the small country of Ethiopia, and see what we can learn.

Geography and Climate

The official name of Ethiopia is the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, known in Ethiopia as Ityop'iya. Ethiopia is located in the northeast region of Africa, in a peninsula called the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is approximately two times the size of Texas! The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa.

Map of Ethiopia
Ethiopia

The climate in Ethiopia is hot and dry, though it can get moderate in the highlands. Ethiopia has been known for having powerful droughts, or lack of rainwater. When droughts come, Ethiopia often does not have enough food for its people.

When the rains come though, usually from the middle of August to early October, they help crops grow. Even with only about 36% of its land being useful to growing crops, Ethiopia is rich in coffee, sugarcane, honey, and cereals. Coffee has been a major export since the 1930s.

Culture of Ethiopia

The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic, but there are many others, including English, Arabic, Oromo, and Tigrigna. There are over 80 different ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

Children walking to school in Ethiopia
Children

Many Ethiopians live in homes called tukuls, which are round huts with roofs made of grass.

Popular meals in Ethiopia are rich in vegetables and meat. One example is wat, a spicy stew that goes on injera, a sourdough flatbread. Coffee is a staple with most meals.

The most popular sports in Ethiopia are soccer and running. There have been several Olympic medalists from Ethiopia in running, including Abebe Bikila and Derartu Tulu.

Ethiopia uses a unique solar calendar, in which there are twelve months of thirty days, plus a 13th month with 5-6 days. Christmas is on January 7th and the calendar begins September 11th.

Government, Symbols, and History

The government in Ethiopia is a federal republic. The people vote on a prime minister, who is similar to a president.

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