More than ten billion years ago, exploding stars and black holes in distant galaxies spread iron throughout the cosmos. Some of it wound up here on Earth—with us, around us, and in us. Iron is in the Earth’s core and rocky crust. It is also in our blood, making it red. Like the fiery surface of the sun, embers also glow in an African blacksmith’s hearth. Striking Iron illustrates the artistry of blacksmiths in Africa south of the Sahara, featuring works dating from the seventeenth century to recent times. Use the questions below to examine African iron smelting and forging.

Note: Select activities require sound, so ask your teacher if headphones are necessary before beginning.