Question: Are you familiar with any lessons and activities related to the Nile - cataracts, delta or the Aswan dam? This 5th grade social studies teacher has expressed some interest in GIS and I'm trying to provide her some GIS-related activities that go along with her classroom focus.
That is a VERY specific topic. Joseph Kerski created a lesson three years ago using the NGS MapMachine, an online resource to explore Africa. Unfortunately, the map machine is no more, but Joseph's lesson is still on ArcLessons and does a nice job of having students walk through different aspects of Africa. http://edcommunity.esri.com/arclessons/lesson.cfm?id=294
I would suggest you use his plethora of materials (10 pdfs), but employ a new map gadget. For 5th grade and for an instructor that is just getting started... I like ArcGIS Explorer desktop (a virtual 3D globe) http://resources.arcgis.com/content/arcgis-explorer/1500/download or ArcGIS Explorer online http://explorer.arcgis.com/. If your teacher is in a Mac only environment, you'll need to use the online product. Having students search, add their comments to the map, play with different base maps and make their own presentations about the elements could be fantastic!