Worlds of Islam: Regional Perspectives on Unity and Diversity

Lesson Plans

A Summer Institute for educators
July 7-11, 2014


Analyzing Islamic Art by Michael Sears
Students will select one piece of Islamic art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website and complete an art analysis worksheet. 

Extended Response Quiz
Islamic Art Analysis

How the Silk Road Helped Spread Contributions of Muslim Civilization by Roberta Robinson
This inquiry is intended to make connections between the Silk Road and the spread of some of the contributions of Muslim civilization through the interaction between traders and travelers along the Silk Road.

The religion of Islam gradually spread across the Arabian Peninsula, west into Persia (Iran), and southwest into India. Not only did conquest create converts to the new religion, but trade became the ultimate transmission tool that facilitated new Islamic Empires. Unfortunately, internecine divides the religion causing civil wars beginning approximately 650 CE to this day. Students will use a graphic organizer that uses titles and subtitles of informational text during reading in order to analyze conflicts between the Ottoman and Safavid empires as they embraced either the Sunni and Shi’a belief while the Mughal Empire experienced an era of tolerance under Akbar the Great.


Comparing Women’s Biographies in Middle Eastern Historical Context by Jim Misencik
The emphasis will be on analyzing continuity and change as it is observed across time and cultures in the biographies of two women in order to understand how different world historical processes create opportunities and constraints. Students will have background information outlining the mid-19th to early-20th century world historical context in Egypt and Iran. Then they will have read the narrative of Shemsigul, a slave woman who is able to sue the slave dealer who had brought her to Cairo. Finally, students will have read the narrative of Bibi Maryam, an elite tribal woman who escorts the German “Lawrence of Arabia” into her tribal lands during WWI against the interests of the Qajar Dynasty, the British and her own powerful husband.

Lessons from the Qur’an by Timothy Curtis
This is an inquiry lesson designed to teach students about the fact that different religious groups emerge because of different interpretations of scripture.

Passages from the Qur’an
In the Name of Allah

Journeys into the Islamic World by Lisa Finnegan
Students will look at pieces of art work from the Islamic world.  They will discover some of the aspects of the Islamic religion through observing the pieces of art work and discussing their interpretations.  They will uncover vocabulary words they need to know in French in order to discuss the images.  Students will then be given the 5 pillars of Islam and will be asked in what ways the works reflect the basic tenets of Islam.  

Blank World Map
“Le Grand Voyage” d’Ismaël Ferroukhi
Writing Rubric

Perceptions of Women in the World by Lynn Brown
In this lesson students will look at multiple perspectives on women in Islam, evaluating the way Muslim women are portrayed in Western media and weighing that against the way that Muslim women see themselves in different areas of the world.  Students will be given opportunities to interact with several different forms of media and primary sources, (including photographs, Qur’anic translations, a song, documentary footage, and Gallop Poll statistics from Islamic society).  Students will be expected to interact with their given media and with one another, discussing and drawing conclusions from each source, as well as developing compelling questions that each source leads them to wonder.

Images of Women in Islam
Race and American Islam (ppt)
Race and American Islam (pdf)

Breaking Down Misperceptions Concerning Political Islam by Bill Topich
The purpose of this lesson is to breakdown numerous stereotypes and biases concerning Political Islam.  In the post-911 political environment media coverage has distorted Islam, creating misunderstandings and at times breeding intolerance. This unit will analyze the stereotypes and provide clarity regarding the religion as well as political motivations of Islamic movements globally.

Three New Ways to Teach About Islam: Conversion, Accommodation and Chains of Transmission by Bob Osborne
In this lesson, students will learn there was a constant process of cross cultural interaction that went on for hundreds of years across regions, countries, empires and oceans with Islam as a catalyst. Islamic ideals are represented in architecture, art, language and cultural practices that exist today across the globe.

Terrorism & U.S. Foreign Policy Unit: What is “Jihad” Anyway?  By Deborah Zimmerman
This lesson starts with a discussion and images of the different meanings of the word, “jihad”. Then, it progresses to student comparison of the meanings of Osama bin Laden’s “Declaration of Jihad against Americans” (1996) and President George W. Bush’s “Address to Congress and the Nation on Terrorism,” dated September 20, 2001. Finally, each student creates a “Pinterest” board of his/her understanding of either speech with visual images and written commentary.

Micro-Talk Project by PowerPoint:

Jewelry in Islamic Lands by Marilyn Schaffer (ppt)
Jewelry in Islamic Lands (pdf)

Micro-Talk Projects Published on YouTube:

Using “On Common Ground” to teach about Islam by Amy Foster

The Story of Qur’an:  Compilation, Transmission & Preservation by Hafiz Ikhas Ansari

Islam & China by Peter Patsouris

Meeting the Healthcare Needs of American Muslims